Saturday, April 16, 2011

MI vs KTK: Kochi Tuskers Kerala shock Mumbai Indians by 8 wickets

MUMBAI: It has to be for some good reason that former Sri Lankan captain Kumar Sangakkara reckons his teammate and close friend Mahela Jayawardene to be a very good Twenty20 batsman. 

The reasons were quite obvious at the Wankhede on Friday evening when Jayawardene - leading a side that coming into this match had looked listless - led from the front and scored a clinical half century that set the pace for what has to be one of Indian Premier League's best chases. 

Mumbai Indians lost the toss, but made good use of the opportunity to bat first and set a formidable 182. Sachin Tendulkar scored 100 of those runs in 66 balls with 12 boundaries and three sixes when it began to seem like the Tuskers had been throttled again. In the end, it was Mumbai Indians who were left to bite the dust as Kochi finally arrived in IPL, making a mockery of what was supposed to be Tendulkar's evening. 

Chasing under lights in front of the Wankhede crowd, especially when it's not exactly cheering for you, can be intimidating. But chasing under lights can get better in these conditions no doubt as India showed two weeks ago in the World Cup final. Jayawardene seemed to have taken enough notes from that game to keep for the future. 

On Friday, the time arrived for the Sri Lankan to use that bit of experience and he did it with aplomb, winning the toss and yet deciding to bat second. The pitch eased wonderfully and along with New Zealander Brendon McCullum, who scored a blistering 81, the skipper saw his team through. 

Jayawardene had spoken of how it would be ideal for Kochi to beat a team that has been looking in top form. In the run up to this game, the Tuskers had been slammed as too weak against a very powerful Mumbai line up. The odds too were heavily in Mumbai Indians' favour, considering the matches that both teams have played so far in the tournament. 

The Tuskers defied it all thanks to the top order finally finding its feet in the middle and Jayawardene's astute skills paving the way for what has got to be an important victory for Kochi. 

Mumbai can blame themselves for the defeat. Tendulkar's century alone was never going to be enough if the bowling failed to live up to the expectation. That's precisely what happened when McCullum got the opportunity to free his arms and strike 10 boundaries and two sixes during the chase. It was the innings that rode on the platform provided by Jaywardene's 56 and in the end, the two openers made Mumbai Indians pay heavily. 

As far as scoring rate goes, Jayawardene's half century was more brisk than McCullum's. However, the prolific Sri Lankan's knock was void of any flashy batting unlike his Kiwi teammate. 

Towards the end, when the equation came down to 35 runs from 17 balls, all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja - who seems to have taken a liking for IPL - smashed 25 off 11 balls which made difference.

1 comment:

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