When Richard Levi's name was called out at the IPL auction in February, there was silence. Despite a base price of just $50,000, there were no takers for the 24-year-old South African. But all that changed a little over two weeks later, after Levi bludgeoned his way into the record books for South Africa against New Zealand in Hamilton. He hit 13 sixes - the most ever in a Twenty20 innings - on his way to a hundred from 45 balls, also a record for men's cricket. He would finish with an unbeaten 117 from 51 balls in just his second international innings. It was an assault so brutal that South Africa's run-rate rarely dropped below 10 after the first over.
Levi said he wasn't disappointed at not being picked in the auction because he only had "one or two good seasons of Twenty20". In fact, he was surprised he made it to the final auction list at all. Following his assault on the hapless New Zealand bowlers though, it was no surprise that he became a hot commodity, with Mumbai Indians and Pune Warriors, the two teams with vacant spots in their squad, chasing his signature. In the end, he opted for Mumbai Indians and the chance to open the batting with Sachin Tendulkar.
"I think it is going to be amazing," Levi told ESPNcricinfo. "They [the crowd] won't be cheering for me, they will be cheering for their 'little master', but I think it's going to be amazing ... I think the first time I do it, it could be a bit of a shock. I might have big eyes and that sort of stuff but it is going to be amazing to walk out and see a crowd that passionate and wanting you to do well."