Cricket

Mumbai Indians vs. Rajasthan Royals, IPL 2014: Highlights, Scorecard, Report

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - OCTOBER 20: Sachin Tendulkar of Mumbai sets off for a single during the Karbonn Smart CLT20 match between Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians at Bidvest Wanderers Stadium on October 20, 2012 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Duif du Toit / Gallo Images/Getty Images)
Gallo Images/Getty Images
Gianni VerschuerenFeatured ColumnistMay 25, 2014

Mumbia Indians (195/5) did the impossible on Sunday, defeating Rajasthan Royals (189/4) by five wickets to book the IPL's final play-off ticket, after going winless for the first part of the competition in the United Arab Emirates. 

Indians came back from an unwinnable position, taking advantage of an epic collapse from Rajasthan's bowlers and riding a sensational Corey Anderson to the win.

Royals' batsmen got to work first, knowing they needed to set a large target to keep their advantage over Indians in net run rate.

Rajasthan Royals (189/4)
BATSMENRUNSBALLSSR4S6S
Shane Watsonc Kieron Pollard b Harbhajan Singh81844.4410
Sanju Samsonc Harbhajan Singh b Shreyas Gopal7447157.4473
Karun Nairc Lendl Simmons b Jasprit Bumrah5027185.1872
Brad HodgeNOT OUT2916181.2521
James Faulknerc Corey Anderson b Kieron Pollard2312191.6603
Kevon CooperNOT OUT000.0000
EXTRAS (w 3, lb 2)5
TOTAL (4 wickets; 20 overs)189
BOWLERORWECONDOTS
Corey Anderson21407.006
Jasprit Bumrah43017.5011
Pragyan Ojha43107.7510
Harbhajan Singh443110.757
Shreyas Gopal336112.003
Kieron Pollard333111.003
ipl20.com

Their first few overs weren't an overwhelming success, however, as Jasprit Bumrah (four overs, 30 runs, one wicket) and Pragyan Oja (four overs, 31 runs) fed off a vocal home crowd looking for the play-offs.

Sanju Samson (74 runs from 47 balls) started hitting his groove as the match went on, finding the boundaries on multiple occasions and putting more and more pressure on Mumbai's bowlers. The difference between Rajasthan's first and last 10 overs was stunning, as shared by Freddie Wilde:

The early dismissal of Shane Watson could have spelled trouble, but a great performance from young Karun Nair (50 runs from 27 balls) more than made up for Watson's slip, with the situation ever improving for Rajasthan as the match wore on.

Harbhajan Singh (four overs, 43 runs, one wicket) simply couldn't play at the level his team required him to, and as Brad Hodge and James Faulkner added 52 more runs at the end of the innings, the situation looked bleak for Mumbai.

Their outlook didn't improve following early dismissals for Lendl Simmons and Michael Hussey, with Mumbai now taking all kinds of risks in a desperate attemt to boost their net run rate.

Mumbai Indians (195/5)
BATSMENRUNSBALLSSR4S6S
Lendl Simmonsc James Faulkner b Dhawal Kulkarni128150.0030
Michael Husseyb Kevon Cooper2211200.0012
Corey AndersonNOT OUT9544215.9096
Kieron Pollardc Brad Hodge b Kevon Cooper73233.3301
Rohit Sharmac Karun Nair b Dhawal Kulkarni1611145.4511
Ambati Rayudurun out (Karun Nair)3010300.0051
Aditya TareNOT OUT61600.0001
EXTRAS (w 4, lb 3)7
TOTAL (5 wickets; 14.4 overs)195
BOWLERORWECONDOTS
James Faulkner3.454014.724
Dhawal Kulkarni342214.007
Shane Watson233016.502
Kevon Cooper43829.507
Pravin Tambe225012.502
ipl20.com

Kieron Pollard (seven runs from three balls) started strong but ran into a sneaky slow ball from West Indies teammate Kevon Cooper (four overs, 38 runs, two wickets), and his high shot was caught by Hodge. Without their powerful right-hander, Indians effectively looked dead in the water.

The fans seemed to lose faith as the middle of the innings approached, but Corey Anderson (99 runs from 44 balls not out) refused to give up. Ramesh Srivats couldn't help but take a dig at his team:

Rajasthan's bowlers, who had been phenomenal for much of the early overs, suddenly seemed to collapse, as Anderson and Ambati Raduyu (30 from 10) started hitting boundary after boundary.

Watson re-introduced himself for an over and gave up three consecutive fours, as things truly started spiraling out of control. What had once looked like an easy win for Royals suddenly turned into a frantic chase for Mumbai, as every single delivery seemed to result in either four or six.

Alternative cricket was stunned:

Needing nine from the last two deliveries, Anderson would hit a single and Raduyu went for six. One final ball would determine who would go to the play-offs, with a boundary needed to give Indians the advantage in net run rate.

Aditya Tare faced Faulkner, and in a storybook ending, he smashed it for six, sending fans and teammates into a frenzy as Mumbai completed not only the chase, but one of the greatest comebacks in IPL history.

Speaking to ESPN Cricinfo, Hussey couldn't believe what had just happened:

I've played a fair bit of cricket but I've never been involved with something like this. We're through to the playoffs. Wasn't sure if we could do this but this game continues to bemuse everyone.

Kieron Pollard looked back on the first part of the competition and how unlikely Mumbai's play-off berth had seemed at the time:

Fantastic. Coming out of Dubai no one thought it was possible. Even at half-time we knew it was going to be difficult. Corey coming into this game was amazing. Ambati as well. We thought it was working against us. But we have a never say die and soon as we won a couple of games in a row, words can't describe that

Mumbai can rejoice following their big win, but those celebrations will have to be brief, as the team will now face Chennai Super Kings in the Eliminator match on Wednesday. The winner of that match will take on the loser of the First Qualifier for a ticket to the IPL play-off final, so the stakes will be high.

A close win like this will give the team plenty of momentum moving forward, but Super Kings were only knocked out of the top two of the IPL standings in the last week of competition, and along with Kings Xi Punjab, they've had the look of possible champions all season.

Indians will have to be at their best, but if Anderson can repeat Sunday's heroics, there's no reason the team can't pull off another miraculous upset in the Eliminator.

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