<
>

McCullum crashes Mumbai's party

Brendon McCullum works one to the leg side Getty Images

Once Sachin Tendulkar checked off another item on his ever-shrinking to-do list with his first century in Twenty20s and Mumbai ran up a tall total without even needing the awesome hitting-ability of Rohit Sharma, Andrew Symonds and Kieron Pollard, it was assumed that Malinga & Co would make the rest of the game a formality.

Brendon McCullum, firmly put that assumption to rest by muscling three boundaries between mid-off and cover in Malinga's second over. The next big jump came in the sixth over by Kieron Pollard as McCullum swatted a four past midwicket and Jayawardene eased boundaries behind square on either side of the wicket.

McCullum kept skating out of the crease and lashing the ball through the off side right through his innings. No bowler was spared: Kieron Pollard was hammered for a huge six over long-off in the ninth over, Harbhajan Singh was deposited beyond long-on in the next, R Sathish was powered in front of square leg for four, and Ali Murtaza's full toss was belted past sweeper cover.

He and Jayawardene put on 128 in 14 overs to put Kochi in command, and even after Jayawardene's dismissal he kept the boundaries flowing. He smashed 13 off the 17th over from Pollard to bring the required-rate back into single digits. He smoked a four past extra cover and then whipped a length ball over square leg for four more, taking a couple of twos in between as Kochi's anxieties eased. Though he was dismissed attempting a scoop off Malinga, he had done enough to ensure Kochi would pull off an upset.