Brendon McCullum exploded at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium and destroyed Chennai Super Kings on Monday. The Kiwi scored another match-winning 47 off 33 balls as Kochi Tuskers Kerala, chasing 132 in a rain-hit 17-over game, scripted their second win in IPL 4. The underdogs have now accounted for the two hot favourites – CSK and Mumbai Indians – in the space of a week.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Parthiv Patel (34 off 26 balls) played a good supporting role after McCullum’s fireworks as the Kochi team underscored captain Mahela Jayawardene’s claim that they had enough talent on the bench. The seven-wicket win for the home team came with two overs to spare.
McCullum carted Albie Morkel for two sixes in his first two overs and Jayawardene greeted offie Ashwin by hitting him for a six and a four. But Ashwin had the last laugh when he had the Sri Lankan in the same over. McCullum hit two more sixes before he perished to Ashwin, going for a big shot over long-off. Brad Hodge and Ravindra Jadeja gave the finishing touches to Kochi’s victory.
Earlier, CSK weathered the vagaries of the wicket at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium and a rain interruption to post a competitive 131 for four in 17 overs on the strength of a stroke-filled 50 (40 balls, 5×4, 1×6) from Suresh Raina. Unusual April rain in Kerala had reduced the match by three overs after Mahela Jayawardene opted to field first. The revised target after a 95-minute break for the home team was 135.
Jayawardene’s decision to bowl first was influenced by the upsets created by Punjab and Kochi in the first week of IPL-4 chasing big totals. He had a second reason to do so as he reckoned that there would be some life early on for the fast bowlers. Midway through the CSK innings, the Kochi captain might have found a third reason by default to justify his decision to field first as rain interrupted the match when the visitors were 65 for two after nine overs.
Barring a couple of authentic cover drives by Murali Vijay, the CSK batsmen found more edges than hits.