Ab de Villiers scored an unbeaten 54 as Bangalore beat Kochi by six wickets in their IPL match at the Nehru Stadium in Kochi on Saturday. ScoreChasing 162 – a tough target – Bangalore got off to forgettable start with their opener Tillakaratne Dilshan departing in the second over of the innings. A leading edge off S Sreesanth was well taken by keeper Brendon McCullum, who dived and took a low catch. Dilshan fell for 1 and Bangalore fell to 7/1.Post that wicket opener Mayank Agarwal and Virat Kohli forged a 41 runs partnership before Vinay Kumar trapped Kohli leg before on 23.Mayank Agarwal, who was batting with confidence all this while finally departed on 33 trying to play inside out off Ravinder Jadeja. He failed to clear the long off boundary even as Vinay Kumar took a fine catch to reduce Bangalore to 85/3 on the last ball of the 10th over.Then it was the turn of Bangalore’s South African import AB de Villiers and Saurabh Tiwary to come to the fore. The two batted, batted even as the asking run rate climbed with every dot ball.They would have liked to continue but that didn’t happen as Tiwary fell trying to slog off Raiphi Gomez in the 18th over with Mahela Jayawardene taking his catch in the deep. He fell for 26 and Bangalore went down to 137/4. But Bangalore’s fortunes took a U-turn in the 19th over when AB de Villiers and Asad Pathan were at the crease. Pathan struck consecutive fours off Vinay Kumar to lead his team to victory.advertisementKochi innings Openers Brendon McCullum and VVS Laxman put on 80 runs for the first wicket as Kochi posted 161/5 in their team’s IPL debut match. Kochi captain Mahela Jayawardene won the toss and decided to bat, a fine decision keeping in mind that his openers VVS Laxman and Brendon McCullum got on with the hitting act right away. The two blasted away boundaries and sixes at ease even as the opposition bowlers struggled.Finally, Sir Lankan Tillakaratne Dilshan provided the much-needed respite for Bangalore breaking their partnership by claiming Laxman on the last ball of the 9th over. He fell for 36 after a 80-run first wicket stand with McCullum.But McCullum was still at the crease and he went about his business with ease. And only after lot of effort by the opposition bowlers McCullum relented. A top edge of Virat Kohli was taken by Dirk Nannes at third man. He fell for 45 when the team total was 93.Post his wicket Kochi lost their captain Mahela Jayawardene when the total was 124. But there was a lot of batting to come with likes of Ravindra Jadeja and Parthiv Patel in their ranks.Jadeja scored an unbeaten 23 helping Kochi post a fine 161/5 on board in their 20 overs.
Brendon McCullum continued his tryst with April 18 to smash a hyper aggressive half-century in the Indian Premier League.Exactly nine years ago on April 18, 2008, McCullum had blasted 158* not out for Kolkata Knight Riders vs Royal Challengers Bangalore in the first game of the inaugural IPL.On April 18, 2017, McCullum was up against RCB again, albeit for a different team but the former New Zealand skipper showed he had lost none of his touch as he blazed away to a rapid 72. However, his knock couldn’t save his team from suffering a defeat as the Gujarat Lions lost to the Royal Challengers Bangalore by 21 runs inRajkot.Chasing 214 for victory in Rajkot, McCullum set the hosts on course with some brutal stroke play. Besides that hundred in 2008, Baz has two more fifties on April 18. Some coincidence that!McCullum retired from ODIs after leading the Black Caps to the World Cup final in 2015.After spending time with KKR, McCullum moved over to Kochi Tuskers Kerala before shifting base to Chennai Super Kings, where he formed a successful opening combination with Dwayne Smith.Once CSK was suspended for two years along with Rajasthan Royals, McCullum was roped in by Gujarat Lions.