By Suhrid Barua
Mumbai: Apr 15, 2011
Paul Valthaty underlined the value of finishing the job rather than leaving it for others for Kings XI Punjab against Chennai Super Kings in Mohali a couple of days back. Brendon McCullum didn’t do the same for Kochi Tuskers Kerala on Friday, but nonetheless scored a magnificent 81 to enable his side pull off their first win in three games.
McCullum’s 81 came off just 60 balls and was punctuated with 10 fours and 2 sixes. The dashing New Zealander realised the importance of getting on top of Mumbai India’s most penetrative bowler – Lasith Malinga who has been plotting opposition’s downfall with his tormenting yorkers.
The right-hander accordingly targeted him in his second over after adopting a cautious approach in the first one. A punch through the covers got him going before he banged another through mid-on. A fierce cut past point brought up the third boundary before Mahela Jayawardene pulled one between mid-on and mid-wicket to leak 17 from the over.
The good thing about the McCullum-Jaywarden stand was their exemplary shot selection. It was not all bang-bang cricket. The duo milked the ones and twos with regularity and ensured the asking never kept mounting.
Jayawardene was at his cheeky best and a reverse dab off Pollard was an indicator of that.
Malinga, who took the heaviest punishment in IPL 4 so far, did trigger a turnaround for Mumbai with the wickets of Jayawardene and McCullum but Kochi had enough in their tank to pull it through.
Earlier, Sachin Tendulkar slammed his maiden IPL hundred to help Mumbai post a score of 182 for 4 in 20 overs.
The maestro brought up the coveted three-figure punching Vinay Kumar through extra cover for a single after collecting two boundaries in the final over to get closer to the milestone. His unbeaten 100 came off 66 balls, punctuated with 12 fours and 3 sixes.
He was associated in a 116-run second wicket stand with Ambati Rayudu, who scored his second successive fifty in IPL-4 as the pair knock the stuffing out of Kochi, raining boundaries at will.
It was an innings which may struggle to match with some of his best knocks but was still a one which thoroughly regaled the boisterous Wankhede crowd.
Tendulkar started on an aggressive note but was lucky to survive when Kedar Jadhav’s shy at the stumps was off target when the former had set off for a quick single but only to return safely to his crease. He soon ensured the Wankhede crowd forgot that – essaying an elegant straight drive off RP Singh.
The right-hander welcomed Thisara Perera to the IPL-4 in a way the bowler wouldn’t probably desire –hammering one pitched outside off-stump on the up before attempting another booming shot off the next ball – the outside edge just eluding wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel.
Davy Jacobs, who was a mute spectator to Tendulkar’s fireworks, got his first four in the 9th over of the innings when he heaved Ralp Gomex to the mid-wicket region. But the bowler exacted revenge off the next ball when he cleaned up Jacobs for 12.
Ambati Rayudu walked in and continued his good run in the tournament. He launched into Gomez in the 11th over – whacking him over wide long-on and wide long-off for consecutive sixes in a over in which Tendulkar compounded the woes of the bowler by going on his knees to execute a paddle shot to short fine-leg – 18 runs coming in that over.
But the shot that deserved more applause than any other was when Rayudu banged Perera straight over his head for his third over – bringing out his abundant talent to the fore.
The talented batsman twice hoisted Ravindra Jadeja over his head for two consecutive fours.
Brief Scores: MI 182 for 3 in 20 overs (Sachin Tendulkar 100*, Ambati Rayudu 53) lost to KTK 184 for 2 in 19 overs (Brendon McCullum 81, Mahela Jayawardene 56, Ravindra Jadeja 25*; Lasith Malinga 2 for 42) vs MI.
Man of the Match: Brendon McCullum
(Suhrid Barua is a cricket buff who invariably gets pumped up before every India match)