Mumbai Indians stunned Rajasthan Royals in an IPL game for the ages—winning a place in the play-offs at Rajasthan's expense after chasing 190 in 14.4 overs.
The teams were playing for the final spot in next week's play-offs, although the Royals went in with a superior net run rate, which meant that only a mountainous win would suffice for Mumbai.
When Rajasthan posted 189-4 in their 20 overs, it meant Mumbai were thought to need to win in 14.3 overs.
The Indians attacked gamely, but with wickets falling at regular intervals as they gave chase, it looked as if they would run out of steam.
They did not—not even when, at 189-5 from 14.3 overs, the game was tied. A boundary, it was calculated, would still be enough to improve their run rate. Aditya Tare obliged with a six from his first delivery.
It would have been dismissed as too fanciful had it been scripted, but the upshot was simple—Mumbai meet Chennai Super Kings in next week's eliminator.
|Rajasthan Royals Innings|
|Shane Watson||c Kieron Pollard b Harbhajan Singh||8||18||44.44||1||0|
|Sanju Samson||c Harbhajan Singh b Shreyas Gopal||74||47||157.44||7||3|
|Karun Nair||c Lendl Simmons b Jasprit Bumrah||50||27||185.18||7||2|
|Brad Hodge||NOT OUT||29||16||181.25||2||1|
|James Faulkner||c Corey Anderson b Kieron Pollard||23||12||191.66||0||3|
|Kevon Cooper||NOT OUT||0||0||0.00||0||0|
|EXTRAS||(w 3, lb 2)||5|
|TOTAL||(4 wickets; 20 overs)||189|
Rajasthan switched their batting order around for the final game, with opener Ajinkya Rahane shunted down so far that he ended up not batting.
A pedestrian start, in which the Royals limped to 59-1 by the midpoint of their innings, looked to have opened the game up.
Kieron Pollard took a fine catch to remove Shane Watson as Mumbai exerted control.
Rajasthan hit back, however, with Sanju Samson exploding into life as Karun Nair crashed a 27-ball half-century.
They both fell in quick succession, Samson exiting for 74—but the momentum did not dissipate.
Instead, Australian duo Brad Hodge and James Faulkner went out guns blazing, adding 49 runs in 24 balls together.
If the Royals had thrown down the gauntlet, the Indians accepted the challenge and played without inhibition.
|Mumbai Indians Innings|
|Lendl Simmons||c James Faulkner b Dhawal Kulkarni||12||8||150.00||3||0|
|Michael Hussey||b Kevon Cooper||22||11||200.00||1||2|
|Corey Anderson||NOT OUT||95||44||215.90||9||6|
|Kieron Pollard||c Brad Hodge b Kevon Cooper||7||3||233.33||0||1|
|Rohit Sharma||c Karun Nair b Dhawal Kulkarni||16||11||145.45||1||1|
|Ambati Rayudu||run out (Karun Nair)||30||10||300.00||5||1|
|Aditya Tare||NOT OUT||6||1||600.00||0||1|
|EXTRAS||(w 4, lb 3)||7|
|TOTAL||(5 wickets; 14.4 overs)||195|
Lendl Simmons, fresh off a century, mustered just 12, while Mike Hussey fired an 11-ball 22 before joining him in the pavilion.
When the dangerous Pollard came and went for seven runs, it seemed as if Rajasthan had control, despite the run rate.
Corey Anderson had other ideas. His big-money entrance to the IPL this year had seen few successes, but he saved the best for when it was needed, launching every Rajasthan bowler to all parts. At one stage, Kevon Cooper was the only man to boast an economy rate under 13 runs an over.
Such was the impetus the Indians had, as Ambati Rayudu and Anderson fired, that victory looked inevitable—but nonetheless, as the target for qualification slipped to 20 from eight balls, Rajasthan still had every chance.
The equation became nine from three balls, with Faulkner thrown the ball.
A single from the first ball put Rayudu on strike—and when he dispatched a full toss for six over fine leg they gave themselves every chance.
In the game within a game, it came down to the final ball, and Rayadu could not make a clear contact, run out chasing two runs.
The celebrations began, but the calculators had one last twist—a boundary from the next ball could still see Mumbai through.
Minutes of remonstrations and working out followed. Had Faulkner not been sporting, he could have simply bowled a wide, which would have sealed the game.
Instead, his full toss was picked off by Tare for a maximum, and the impossible was achieved.