Mumbai: Kiwi batsman Corey Anderson conjured up an astonishing 95-run knock under tremendous pressure to single-handedly power Mumbai Indians to the IPL play-offs as the hosts rattled Rajasthan Royals by five wickets in a high-scoring thriller, here om Sunday.
Requiring to chase down a 190-run target within 15 overs, Mumbai Indians overhauled the target in 14.4 overs when Aditya Tare hoisted James Faulkner for a six. In a heart-stopping finish, when scored were tied in 14.3 overs, Tare pulled off one of the most memorable strokes of his career with that six that helped his side sneak into the play-offs.
It was a humongous task to score 190 runs in 14.3 overs as the target was initially but Anderson, who holds the world record of scoring fastest hundred in One-dayers, showed his worth with one of the most destructive knocks in IPL. His unbeaten 95 runs came off 44 balls with nine fours and half-a-dozen sixes.
With this win, Mumbai edged out Royals on Net-Run-Rate to book a Qualifier match against Chennai Super Kings on Wednesday at Braborn stadium here. Anderson did what Yusuf Pathan did to Sunrisers Hyderabad yestreday. Mumbai were 61 for 3 and looking down the barrel but left-handed Anderson and Ambati Rayudu shared a game-changing 81-run stand for the fifth wicket.
Rayudu blasted 30 runs off just 10 balls. Tare sounded the death-knell for Royals with a first ball six off left-arm quick Faulkner, who conceded 54 runs without taking a wicket. Royals bowling let them down badly. Earlier, Sanju Samson and Karun Nair hit came up with responsible knocks to help Rajasthan Royals post an imposing 189 for four after being put into bat.
Samson scored 74 off 47 balls while Nair took 27 balls for his 50-run knock as the two young batsmen shared a 100-run stand in 57 balls after early departure of Shane Watson. Samson, who opened the innings instead of Ajinkya Rahane, hit three sixes and seven fours, while Nair`s knock was studded with two sixes and seven fours.
Big-hitting Australians Brad Hodge (29 not out) and James Faulkner (23 off 12 balls) then joined hands in the last five overs to add 49 runs for the fourth wicket. Royals were 59 for one at half-way mark and went on to score 130 runs in the last 10 overs. Mumbai need to win the match inside 14.3 overs to edge out their rivals on better net run rate to qualify for the play-offs.
The tall Faulker swung Harbhajan Singh for successive sixes over mid wicket and a square cut four in the offie?s final over, 17th of the innings, to take the score past 150. Faulkner slammed one more six before holing out to Corey Anderson in the deep off Pollard while Hodge remained unbeaten at the other end.
Mumbai felt the absence of the injured Praveen Kumar and death-bowling expert Lasith Malinga. Main hope Harbhajan was carted for 43 runs for the wicket of Watson while the others too failed to stop the flow of runs.
Asked to bat first, the Royals were kept pegged back by some accurate bowling from Jasprit Bumrah who even bowled a maiden over to Watson.
Samson showed aggressive intent from the first ball and hit Corey Anderson for an on-driven four. He then hit Bumrah`s full toss for another four and then slog swept Pragyan Ojha for a six. Watson, kept in check, finally hit a four off the first ball he received from Harbhajan but was caught brilliantly by Kieron Pollard, who ran in and dived to scoop the ball inches off the turf.
Royals sprang surprise by sending in Nair instead of Rahane. The newcomer struggled to get going on the slow-paced pitch initially before opening up. Nair slammed his Karnataka Ranji Trophy teammate Shreyas Gopal for a six and two fours on the leg side in the 11th over to perk up the run-rate beyond the 7-run mark.
Ojha too was targeted by Nair after his second wicket partner Samson reached his 50 in 36 balls. The left arm slow bowler was hit for six and two fours, including off a switch hit, to help Royals cross the 100 mark in the 13th over.
When Harbhajan was brought back to stem the run flow, Nair struck him for a four and a pulled six to reach his 50 off just 26 balls with 7 fours and 2 sixes.
He left immediately afterwards, caught at short mid wicket and his partner Samson followed suit in the next over by mis-hitting leg spinner Shreyas to be caught.