Anderson fires Mumbai to semis

2014-05-25 21:02
Corey Anderson (SuperSport)
Mumbai - Corey Anderson's sensational unbeaten innings of 95 saw the Mumbai Indians pull off an extraordinary five-wicket victory with 32 balls to spare over the Rajasthan Royals, and earn a place in the IPL playoffs in the most dramatic circumstances at the Wankhede Stadium in on Sunday.

According to the supersport.com website, the match had been billed as the playoff decider, with the fourth placed Royals two points clear of the Indians, although with a significantly superior net run rate.

Having been sent in by Mumbai skipper Rohit Sharma, the visitors then cruised their way to 189 for four, seemingly burying Mumbai's hopes.

Sanju Samson was the star, bludgeoning seven fours and three sixes before being dismissed for 74 from 47 deliveries. Karun Nair, with whom he shared a 57-ball partnership of 100, was equally good value for his 50 from 27, which also included seven boundaries, albeit with one fewer maximum.

By virtue of the net run rate system, Mumbai then faced an extremely stiff challenge in reply, as they needed to overhaul the target of 190 in 14.3 overs or less if they were to book their place in the playoffs.

But it set the stage for Anderson, who blasted nine fours and six sixes in a 44-ball knock that powered his side to 195 for five off 14.4 overs, and booked their place in the playoffs by virtue of a permutation that emerged at the end.

Mumbai will now square off in the eliminator match against the third-placed Chennai Super Kings on Wednesday, and are three games away from defending their IPL title.

For Rajasthan, the late capitulation summed up a sorry end to the campaign in which they lost their final three matches to miss out on the playoffs by the narrowest of margins.

Facing the improbable task of winning the game, let alone inside 87 balls, the hosts made the perfect start, as opener Lendl Simmons (12) carted three boundaries in the first over. Mike Hussey (22) then dispatched his first ball for six, but Simmons was to lose his wicket in the second over as his ugly swipe lobbed harmlessly into the clutches of James Faulkner at mid-on.

It merely made way for Anderson though, and he and Hussey pelted the astonished Rajasthan bowlers to bring up the fifty from just 3.5 overs.

West Indian Kevon Cooper (4-0-38-2) broke the back of the innings with a double breakthrough the following over though, as he castled Hussey before enticing Kieron Pollard (7) - who had smashed the second ball he faced for six - into one too many, as his mistimed flick lobbed to square leg.

The hosts made it clear that they were going to go down swinging though, with the much-hyped Anderson finally showing why he commanded a price tag of $866 000. The left-hander took 14 runs from the eighth over, before dispatching Cooper over his head to bring up the 100 in the ninth over. And although Sharma (16) fell soon after, the New Zealander brought up his fifty from just 25 deliveries when he smashed Dhawani Kulkarni (3-0-42-2) over long off for six.

As the carnage continued, the impossible started to become reality, as a delirious crowd watched on as 82 runs came between overs seven and 12.

The 50 partnership between Abati Rayudu (30) and the dominant Anderson was raised from just 19 balls, and at that stage Mumbai had an excellent chance of advancing, needing 27 from 13.

But the drama that followed was scarcely believable. Anderson continued his heroics, yet it was Rayudu's six off Faulkner (3.4-0-54-0) that left Mumbai needing two runs from the 87th delivery of the innings. He then mistimed one, and was run out going for the second.

However, after some confusion, a technicality emerged that if the following delivery was struck for a boundary, Mumbai would still go through, and it was a verdict that left the Royals bemused.

Bemusement then turned to despair, as new batsman Aditya Tare (six not out) then wrote his name into Mumbai folklore, sending a terrible leg-side full toss from Faulkner into the crowd behind the square-leg boundary to spark joyous scenes of celebration.

After his team had earlier been sent in to bat, Samson was hamstrung somewhat by his out-of-sorts opening partner Shane Watson (8). The Australian even faced a maiden in the second over - electing not to offer a shot in some cases - and struggled for 18 deliveries before being put out of his misery in the sixth over by Pollard, who raced in from the boundary and dived to take a brilliant low catch.

But Samson and new-man Nair did well to thwart the initial pressure from the cock-a-hoop Mumbai bowlers, and the momentum of the game changed considerably in the 11th over, as Nair belted legspinner Shreyas Gopal (3-0-36-1) for three fours and an almighty maximum to amass a total of 19 runs.

The half century for Samson came up from just 36 balls in the 13th over, and a stunned home crowd were forced to salute the rampant Nair an over later, as he reached the milestone from just 26 deliveries.

The pair had plundered an awesome 75 from the previous five overs before Nair's cameo came to an end with the last ball of the 15th over. Samson was to follow his partner back to the dugout the following over in similarly tame fashion, but with the score at 136 for three, their job was done.

Brad Hodge (25 not out) and Faulkner (23) then did the rest, and although the latter perished in the final over, their 26-ball partnership of 49 had seemingly extinguished any hopes Mumbai may have had of advancing in the competition.


Mumbai Indians:
LMP Simmons, MEK Hussey, RG Sharma (captain), KA Pollard, AT Rayudu, CJ Anderson, AP Tare (wicketkeeper), Harbhajan Singh, S Gopal, PP Ojha, JJ Bumrah

Rajasthan Royals: AM Rahane, KK Nair, SR Watson (captain), SV Samson (wicketkeeper), BJ Hodge, AM Nayar, JP Faulkner, KK Cooper, Ankit Sharma, PV Tambe, DS Kulkarni

Read more on:    mumbai indians  |  rajasthan royals  |  ipl  |  cricket

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