Mumbai pip Rajasthan to IPL play-offs thanks to thrilling final-ball six
Adita Tare had one swing, all or nothing, to extend the Mumbai Indians’ season.
He sent the ball into the grandstands at Wankhede Stadium, which in turn sent the fans home in a complete delirium.
Needing at least a four on the last delivery of the night to keep the season from ending, Tare came on and delivered the goods, sending his side to the Indian Premier League play-offs with a thrilling victory over the Rajasthan Royals.
At the start of the 15th over, bowled by James Faulkner, Mumbai needed nine off three balls. A single off the first ball was followed by a clutch six from Ambati Rayudu that reduced the equation to two off one ball.
But there was another twist in the tale when Rayudu was caught short of the crease while attempting the second run off the third ball of the over.
But as the Rajasthan camp started to celebrate in a confused and chaotic scene, match officials informed players that Mumbai still had a chance of elevating their net run-rate if they hit a boundary off the next ball.
Even as a confused Shane Watson attempted to read the situation calmly, Tare, the new man in, had clear instructions – swing hard. A full toss on middle and leg from Faulkner made it easy and the ball sailed over the deep square-leg fence to spark huge celebrations.
Mumbai could not have gotten it any more right yesterday as Corey Anderson set the place on fire with his exhilarating batting; Mumbai chasing down the imposing 189 for four from Rajasthan Royals in 14.4 overs to progress to the play-offs on account of a better net run-rate than Rajasthan.
Anderson, replacing Marchant de Lange, smashed an unbeaten 44-ball 95 as Mumbai won with five wickets in hand. And even as the burly New Zealander went berserk, Ambati Rayudu held his own to make a 10-ball 30 in a fifth-wicket stand of 81 in just 35 balls to dash Rajasthan’s hopes of sneaking through.
The beauty of Anderson’s game was in the way he married great composure with nonchalant six hitting. At one stage, Mumbai needed 82 off 31 balls to qualify, when Rohit Sharma was dismissed. An expectant crowd went quiet, but only for a while, as Anderson and Rayudu took centrestage and made a mockery of what looked like a match-winning total for the best part of the game.
Victory for Mumbai looked a far cry when Sanju Samson and Karun Nair, two young men not necessarily associated with swashbuckling batting, put on an exhilarating display to send the Mumbai bowlers on a leather hunt.
The 118-run second-wicket stand between the two set the foundation for Brad Hodge (29 in 16 balls) and Faulkner (23 in 12) to tee off in style as Rajasthan finished with a total they would have backed themselves to defend – not just in 14.3 overs but even in 20 overs.
But Faulkner the bowler crumbled under pressure again, and how.
Shashank Kishore is a sub editor with Wisden India. Visit wisdenindia.com or follow then on Twitter
Published: May 25, 2014 04:00 AM