Jayasuriya eclipses Tendulkar's debut
It could not have been scripted better, Sachin Tendulkar made his debut in the Indian Premier League (IPL), with his team Mumbai Indians having won three matches consecutively.
But, in order to make it to the semi finals, they had to keep the momentum going.
Shaun Pollock and Ashish Nehra put up some disciplined bowling up-front, which restricted the Chennai Super Kings to a modest total of 157. But the night belonged to Jayasuriya.
He had been getting starts in the tournament but could not convert them into impressive innings. However, it was the day, he had been waiting for, to prove his worth to the team. Before the match against Chennai, he had been opening with different partners but the opening partnership did not influence the progress of matches.
Opening with Tendulkar on Wednesday (May 14), perhaps, gave him confidence to go ballistic. The first six overs yielded 78 runs and by then, the opponent, Chennai Super Kings knew that something had hit them hard.
His flicks over square leg for sixes, his powerful cover drives and bottom hand jabs on the on side were a delight to watch. Though on the other hand, Tendulkar could not really make his dream debut but was more than happy to let Jayasuriya take the strike and demolish the opponent team.
His 11 sixes in an innings, is second only to Brendon McCullum’s 13 in the first match against the Royal Challengers of Bangalore in the IPL. The sheer arrogance with which he hit all the Chennai Super Kings bowlers all around the pavilion was astonishing to see. He was in a belligerent mood. He did not even spare his previous team mate, Muttiah Muralitharan, as he attempted twice to reverse sweep the Sri Lankan off-spinner.
Nevertheless, if there is one player who can single handedly take the match away from the opposition with his explosive batting, it is Sanath Jayasuriya. And his team was aware that it would need just one innings to get him back in form, which he did in style.
He amassed the second fastest century of the tournament after Adam Gilchrist, who had gone on a rampage against the Mumbai Indians a few matches back.
But with Jayasuriya’s current performance, the Mumbai Indians can be happy that their most explosive batsman is back in form. This, in contrast, is not a good sign for other teams. Jayasuriya’s knock was the first good score from a team, which had till now, struggled in the tournament for survival. But this innings would add a heap of confidence to them as they would now try their best to reach the semi finals.
For thousands of spectators who had gathered to see Tendulkar’s charismatic batting, it would have been a dream come true to watch this innings of Jayasuriya instead. Mumbai Indians would also feel confident now as their batting looks more or less improved, though the departure of Bravo will hurt them. Their next tie against the Kolkata Knight Riders will be a vital one, as both these teams are fighting for a berth in the semi finals.
It will be great to see King Khan back in Mumbai, cheering his team at the sidelines. But the resurgent Mumbai Indians will be up for the challenge.