Michael Hussey slammed his first fifty for Mumbai Indians in the ongoing Indian Premier League, on Monday. It was a knock which helped Mumbai defeat Rajasthan Royals by 25 runs in Motera, Ahmedabad. The veteran Australian cricketer played just 39 deliveries for his 56 - a knock which propelled his side to a challenging 178/3. (Scorecard | Match report)
In a team which has been criticized for its shoddy batting this year, Hussey's knock against Rajasthan was crucial as it laid the platform for the other batsmen to build on. The opener had a crackling start after Mumbai opted to bat at the Sardar Patel Stadium and laced his innings with three fours and two massive sixes. There was a confident air around Hussey's aggression and it was evident in his batting as he completed his 13th IPL fifty off 32 deliveries.
Hussey was also part of a solid 120-run stand for the opening wicket with Lendl Simmons (62 off 51). The duo decimated Rajasthan bowlers with ferocious intent -- Mumbai's first partnership of fifty or more at the top in 12 IPL innings. It was also Mumbai's highest first-wicket partnership against Rajasthan and their second partnership in excess of 100 this year.
Interestingly, quality batting in IPL is not new to Hussey who had performed consistently well for Chennai Super Kings till last year. Ahead of the 2014 auctions, Chennai's decision to drop him despite his 733 runs from 17 IPL 6 matches -- the highest in the tournament -- left many dismayed. Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit Sharma though couldn't have been more pleased as his side lapped up the retired Aussie batsman for INR 5 crores.
The worth of the money was realized on Monday.
Such was the quality of batting on display that Rohit called Hussey -- who has a total of 1777 IPL runs at an average of 41.32 -- a genius for his splendid effort.
"He is a genius and he has done it so many times before for the Chennai Super Kings in previous seasons and Australia as well," Rohit said in an interview to iplt20.com. "We always look forward to him getting us off to a good start, and today was a perfect day for him. "