Mumbai, Apr 15 Sachin Tendulkar's maiden Twenty20 century went in vain as Kochi Tuskers Kerela opened their account in the Indian Premier League with an upset eight wicket victory over Mumbai Indians here today.
Mumbai Indian skipper Tendulkar slammed a 66-ball 100 and put on a stand of 116 runs with Ambati Rayudu (53) to set an imposing target of 182 before Kochi after skipper Mehela Jayawardene won the toss and decided to field.
But Kochi opener Brendon McCullum powered his way to an equally brilliant 81 and added 128 runs with Jayawardene to help the IPL debutants overhaul the stiff target, reaching 184-2 with six balls to spare.
When the match was poised on a razor edge, Ravindra Jadeja smashed left arm spinner Ali Murtaza for a four and two successive sixes off full tosses to help the Tuskers past the finish line in style after two earlier losses in the tournament.
It was heart burn for Mumbai skipper Tendulkar whose spectacular knock, in which he threw caution to the winds towards the end and came up with unorthodox shots, went in vain.
The iconic batsman smashed three sixes and 12 fours, reaching his hundred off a single off the last ball of the Mumbai innings, but McCullum stole the thunder from Tendulkar with a 60-ball 81, studded with who two sixes and 10 fours.The New Zealander was well supported by Kochi skipper Jayawardene who cracked a brisk 56 off 36 balls to lay the foundation for the runchase.
Lasith Malinga brought Mumbai Indians back into the game, removing the openers in his last two overs but Jadeja, who made a 11-ball 25 with two fours and as many sixes, and Brad Hodge (11 not out in 7 balls) ensured their were no more hiccups and helped the Tuskers reach the target in style with an unfinished stand of 28 runs.
The Tuskers, who had lost their opening two games in their debut season, started the run chase promisingly when McCullum, dropped on zero by Rohit Sharma off Malinga at slip, punished the Sri Lankan pacer with a flurry of fours, three in all, in the bowler's second over.
With Jayawardene looking composed and aggressive at the other end, the Kochi outfit raised the 50 in the 6th over to keep themselves in the hunt as danger man Malinga was seen off for an expensive two-over spell for 22 runs.
McCullum stepped out to Kieron Pollard and lofted the West Indian over mid off for a six and then slog-swept Harbhajan Singh over mid-wicket for another maximum to keep the required run-rate within control. Pollard's first three overs went for 30 runs.After 10 overs Kochi were 84-0, ahead of MI (71-0) at the same stage.
The New Zealander, credited with the first-ever century in IPL history, completed his half century in 41 balls with the help of two sixes and six fours.
Jayawardene, playing second fiddle while keeping the run-rate surging along, came into his elements just before the Tuskers reached the 100 mark in the 12th over by punishing Harbhajan Singh for two successive fours - an inside-out lofted drive to extra cover and a pull to square leg.
He went on to complete his half century in a quick 30 balls with eight fours embellishing it.Tendulkar brought on R Satish but McCullum swung him for a four and then powerfully drove left arm Ali Murtaza over the covers for another boundary in the 13th over at the end of which the Tuskers were 67 runs short of the target with all wickets intact on a good batting track.
As a desperate gesture, Tendulkar brought back Malinga but McCullum slashed his wide ball for a four and his Lankan compatriot Jayawardene steered him for another boundary to keep the runs coming along in a cascade.
But the sling-arm bowler got his revenge immediately afterwards with a swinging yorker that clean bowled the classy batsman.At that stage, the visitors needed 55 runs in 37 balls to notch their first victory in the tournament and after a tight over from Harbhajan it changed the calculation to 48 off last 30 balls with McCullum and new batsman Ravindra Jadeja unable to give the charge to the clever offie.
Another good over by Munaf Patel, who gave away eight runs brought the calculation to 40 runs off 24 balls. It was then when Malinga struck another big blow.
In his last over, the Sri Lankan clean bowled McCullum when the batsman attempted to scoop the ball behind the wicket keeper to raise hopes for Mumbai.
However, Brad Hodge slammed the bowler for two fours in the same over to bring down the target to 19 off 12 balls. Then with 19 needed off the last 12 balls, Jadeja waded into Murtaza and finished off the match.
Earlier Tendulkar, who has carried on his superb form in the World Cup into the T20 League, slammed three sixes and eight fours, while one-down batsman Rayudu played a blinder of an innings while making 53 in 33 balls with four sixes and three fours as the duo pulverized the Kochi bowling attack in their stand of 116 runs in just over ten overs.
The duo, who had stitched a match-winning partnership in the previous game against Royal Challengers Bangalore, were in absolute command during their rip-roaring second wicket stand after the home team was asked to bat first on a wicket that had bounce and seam movement initially.
The second wicket pair joined forces after Tendulkar and Davy Jacobs put on 61 for the first wicket, and were not separated till Rayudu was run out in the last over. But Tendulkar went on to complete his first-ever hundred in the T20 league with a four, a six and a single off Vinay Kumar who gave away a whopping 48 runs in four overs.
Tendulkar started the Mumbai innings, with a brilliant straight-driven four when Rudra Pratap Singh over-pitched. The champion batsman then slashed Vinay Kumar for another four in the second over, Raiphi Gomez mis-fielding at third man.
Tendulkar struck two consecutive fours off Vinay in the fourth over to up the run-rate. But later he troubled by Vinay and escaped two close leg before calls off the Karnataka bowler.
The aggressive intent of Tendulkar, who was also lucky to see his edged shot off Tissera Perera eluding the leaping wicket keeper Parthiv Patel, was in sharp contrast to his opening partner Davy Jacobs who could not time the ball at all.
Tendulkar's positive play helped MI amass 44 without loss at the end of the 6-over Power Play and his contribution was 31 off 32 balls.Jacobs finally hit a boundary off the first ball of the ninth over from Gomez, a pull shot on bent knees, before the Kerala Ranji bowler deceived him with a slower ball and clean bowled the South African batsman for 12 in 21 balls.
Rayudu, who came into the match on the back of a brilliant unbeaten half ton against Royal Challengers Bangalore, slammed the innocuous looking Gomez for sixes off consecutive balls, depositing the ball into the stands, over mid on and extra cover. Then Tendulkar paddle swept the bowler for another boundary to raise the scoring rate.Eighteen runs were taken off the medium pacer in the 11thover and MI jumped to 89 for one and Gomez's figures were an unimposing 3-0-29-1. PTI