Cameron Green hits glorious matchwinning ton for Mumbai
Mumbai had been yearning for the real Cameron Green to reveal his true colours in the Indian Premier League - and when he did, it was well worth the wait.
Hoping their big-money signing would deliver when most needed, Green obliged on his home turf in Mumbai with a sensational match-winning century against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Sunday to send them into the playoffs at the last gasp.
Alas for the big allrounder's Australian international colleague Glenn Maxwell, Green's heroics ensured that a stirring tournament for 'Maxi' ended in anti-climax as Royal Challengers Bangalore later missed out on the knockout stages with an agonising loss.
But Green was the story of the final day of group matches. Smashing the Sunrisers Hyderabad attack to all parts of the Wankhede Stadium, Green, who'd threatened a monster innings like this for a couple of months, scampered a winning single to move to three figures and leapt in the air for joy.
His price tag of $3.15m, making him the most expensive Australian IPL player of all, may have been a heavy one, but Green hadn't let himself down throughout the event, cracking a couple of blistering fifties and bowling whole-heartedly for six wickets.
But this was a performance of a very different order. Having conceded just two runs off his one excellent over in Hyderabad's crushing total of 5-200, Green, who came to the crease at 1-20, was all business as he flayed the Sunrisers with a remarkable demonstration of power-hitting.
He motored to 50 off just 20 balls, leaving India captain Rohit Sharma very much the junior partner early in their 128-run partnership.
And when the skipper was dismissed for a 37-ball 56, the 23-year-old Green took control along with the peerless Suryakumar Yadav to guide Mumbai to victory with 12 balls still remaining.
Green muscled eight sixes as well as eight fours, with the only question being whether he might run out of time to get that precious maiden IPL ton as Suryakumar (25no) was making hay at the other end.
The pair managed - just about, amid a touch of farce - to contrive that Green hit the winning single while also making three figures.
Yet even the great Sachin Tendulkar was left laughing on the Mumbai bench at the transformation which saw Green ending up scratching around to earn the precious single after he'd spent the rest of the innings wreaking mayhem.
"When we had about 20 to get, I just said to Sky (Suryakumar) 'just finish it'," explained Green.
"Obviously, we'd come here to win so you've got to make sure of that first. But with a couple of runs left, I thought I might as well trickle across the line (for the hundred)."
Asked if he'd felt any pressure this season because of the high expectations from Mumbai before he finally got into his stride, Green shrugged: "Potentially - but the whole set up has been awesome. It (the pressure) wasn't from the team, but probably myself."
After Green's heroics in the eight-wicket win, Mumbai were left with an anxious wait to see if they could hold on to their fourth and final playoff spot from Bangalore.
But despite being inspired by a record seventh IPL hundred from Virat Kohli (101no off 61) which propelled them to 5-197 - Maxwell only made 11 - RCB were beaten by ladder leaders Gujarat Titans, who powered to a six-wicket win thanks to Shubman Gill's two-runs-a-ball 104no.
It meant Mumbai will face the Marcus Stoinis and his Lucknow Super Giants in Wednesday's eliminator, while Gujarat will take on the Chennai Super Kings in Tuesday's playoff match.