Felix Austin | cricket20
Not even a Sachin Tendulkar century could stop the Kochi Tuskers Kerala from recoding their first victory in this years tournament thanks to a counter attacking innings of 81 from Brandon McCullum.
Faced with a run chase of 183 the Tuskers stunned the Mumbai Indians by chasing down the mammoth total to silence the Wankhede Stadium who had early witnessed Tendulkar record his maiden IPL century.
With 27 runs needed from the final 17 deliveries Brad Hodge (11) and Ravindra Jadeja (25) held their nerve to seal victory with 6 ball to spare thanks to Jadeja who smashed 20 runs off the penultimate over bowled by Jadeja
Having survived a possible run out and two strong LBW appeals Tendulkar thrilled the capacity crowd with his first ever IPL century which was completed from the final ball of the innings to help the Indians reach 182-2.
Every shot and every run was cheered by the crowd as the Indian legend dispatched 12 fours and 3 sixes during one of the best innings ever seen at the newly refurbished stadium in Mumbai.
Ambati Rayudu (55) played the perfect supporting role; scoring his own half century before he was run out in the final over after sacrificing his own wicket to allow Tendulkar the chance of completing his century.
McCullum and Jayawardene played intelligent cricket by picking boundaries at the start of each over to put the pressure on the Indians bowlers to keep up the required run rate of almost 9.10 an over.
The pair both completed half centuries to silent the home crowd as the Tuskers opening stand past 100, a record for the fledgling franchise.
With the momentum firmly on the visitors side, Tendulkar was forced to bring Lasith Malinga back onto the attack earlier then planed as the Indians need for a wicket was becoming more urgent.
For the first time in the tournament the Sri Lankan looked under pressure as conceding 12 runs before he struck with a perfectly bowled yorker which crashed into Jayawardene’s (56) middle stump.
Despite the loss of the visitor’s skipper, McCullum continued to play his natural game dispatching Kieron Pollard for 13 runs in the 17th over to leave the Tuskers needing 27 runs from 18 deliveries.
With the pressure mounting Malinga came back into the attack to remove McCullum (81) with another perfect yorker after the Kiwi fell into the trap of expecting a slower ball after Davy Jacobs came up to the stumps to keep wicket.
Although the Tuskers were doubt a major blow with the loss of McCullum, new batsman Brad remained calm to dispatch Malinga for two boundaries to set up a frilling finish.
Tendulkar started the game with a 61 run partnership with Davy Jacobs (12) and although the South African wicket keeper was bowled by Raiphi Gomez the Indians continued to go from strength to strength thanks to the little master and new partner Rayudu who lit up the Wankhede Stadium with a explosive batting display.
Rayudu led the way dispatching 2 boundaries and 3 sixes to help the pair reach 50 after just 34 deliveries before Tendulkar scored his 10th IPL half century sending the crowd into wild celebrations.
The crowd was on their feet again when the little master flicked Vinay Kumar away for two big sixes in the 16th over to leave the visitors bowling attack in tatters.
Rayudu reached his own half century with a quickly taken single in the next over before Tendulkar stole the show with a string of boundaries and sixes to complete his first ever IPL century.