Tendulkar Century In Vain As Kochi Stun Mumbai
Kochi Tuskers Kerala 184-2 (McCullum 81) beat
Mumbai Indians 182-2 (Tendulkar 100no) by 8 wickets
Indian Premier League 2011, Mumbai
Kochi Tuskers Kerala produced an inspired performance batting second to down the Mumbai Indians - for whom Sachin Tendulkar scored a century - and take an eight-wicket win to get off the mark in the Indian Premier League 2011.
Tendulkar was outstanding in making 100 not out in 66 balls but Kochi were no less impressive, from an opening partnership of 128 between Mahela Jayawardene and Brendon McCullum, to the cool finish appled by Ravi Jadeja and Brad Hodge.
Tendulkar survived a couple of run out chances and two good leg-before shouts but was otherwise in sublime form as he reached a maiden IPL century from the last ball of the innings. His innings was all the more noteworthy as it contained few unorthodox strokes until he accelerated significantly towards the end, bringing out a couple of 'helicoptor' shots that Mahendra Singh Dhoni has made famous. Not particularly pretty, but they were perfectly effective and the great man hit 12 fours and three sixes in all.
He was backed up - once again - by the impressive Ambati Rayudu, who stroked his second consecutive half-century in making 53 in just 33 balls, the pair putting on 116 for the second wicket before Rayudu sacrificed his wicket with two balls of the innings remaining.
Davy Jacobs (12) had fallen early to Raiphi Gomez but thereafter the standard of Kochi's bowling and fielding slipped well below where they would have liked.
Mumbai too, were not at their best in the field, Rohit Sharma missing a chance to catch McCullum from the first ball of the reply and Ali Murtaza failing to hold on to a chance to remove Jayawardene.
Jayawardene, much like Tendulkar had, played an innings full of orthodox strokes and deft touches and he made 56 in 36 balls with nine fours while McCullum blazed away at the other end, smashing ten fours and two sixes in his 81 in 60 balls.
Jayawardene fell when he was bowled by compatriot Lasith Malinga and McCullum's dismissal, also bowled by the Sri Lankan, set up an intriguing climax and put the Mumbai side back in with a strong chance of victory.
However, it was not to be as Jadeja thumped an unbeaten 25 in 11 balls and Hodge made 11 in seven to steer the Kochi side to a sweet maiden victory with an over in hand.
McCullum and Jayawarden's opening stand was the highest of the tournament so far and it just about proved to be the difference between the two sides, giving the Tuskers the platform from which to keep the pressure on Mumbai and eventually, that pressure told.
The victory also throws the competition wide open - if it hadn't already been - as every team is now off the mark and no teams have opened up an early gap in the first week of the competition.
© Cricket World 2011