Mumbai Indians made it to the play-offs of the Indian Premier League (IPL) with a sensational five-wicket win over Rajasthan Royals, thanks to a match-winning unbeaten 95 by Corey Anderson at the Wankhede Stadium here Sunday.
Coming into the match, Rajasthan Royals had a better chance of making it to the play-offs and their batsmen did well to post a challenging 189 for four in 20 overs.
The odds were high for Mumbai Indians as they needed just 87 balls to achieve the target and make the play-offs. And they did exactly what was needed with Anderson scoring a whirlwind unbeaten 95 off 44 balls that was studded with nine fours and six sixes.
With the scores tied at 189, Ambati Rayudu, who played an exception 10-ball 30, departed after a run out. In the next ball, which was perhaps the last ball for the hosts to qualify, Adtya Tare hoicked a full toss from James Faulkner over square leg as Mumbai Indians made 195 from 14.4 overs.A
With the win, Mumbai India edged out Rajasthan Royals as the fourth team in the play-offs on the basis of a better run rate.
Mumbai Indians will now face Chennai Super Kings in Wednesday’s elminator while Kings XI Punjab wuill face Kolkata Knigt Riders in the first qualfier.
For the defending champions, it was a great turnaround after having lost all their five matches in the UAE-leg of the IPL.
It was also a tragic end for Rajasthan Royals as they started off well but lost the plot in the home stretch with three consecutive defeats.
On Sunday, they put on an impressive power-packed batting performance with Sanju Samson (74) and Karun Nair (50) leading the way with their century-run stand for the second wicket.
It was some clean hitting by the two youngsters that frustrated the Mumbai Indians bowlers. Samson continued his good form and hit seven fours and three sixes in his 47-ball knock. Nair smashed seven fours and two sixes in his 27-ball stay.
They laid the foundation of a late onslaught by Brad Hodge (29 not out) and Faulkner (23).
Realising that they have only 87 runs and have to score at 13.2 runs per over, Munmbai Indians openers Lendl Simmons (12) and Mike Hussey (22) went all guns blazing right from the first ball.
But it was Anderson’s dashing knock that paved the way for an improbable win. Anderson, who otherwise had an unimpressive outing till now, performed when it mattered the most.
The Kiwi smacked Rajasthan Royals skipper Shane Watson for 15 runs in the third over hitting two fours and a six.
With wickets falling at the other Anderson went on his business as usual. He got good support from Rayudu, who hit five four a six from the 10 balls he faced.
With Mumbai needing two of one ball, Rayudu was run out while attempting a tight second and then in the next ball Tare took the team home safely with a six.