Corey Anderson, who slammed an unbeaten 95 off 44 balls to help Mumbai Indians qualify for the Indian Premier League 2014 playoffs, heaped praise on teammates Ambati Rayudu and Aditya Tare after a mind-boggling victory over the Rajasthan Royals.
Mumbai needed to chase down 190 in 14.3 overs and it was Anderson's innings that allowed them to get there, despite some chaotic last few moments in the game. While Rayudu chipped in with 30 off 10 balls and featured in an 81-run stand from 5.1 overs, Tare hammered James Faulkner for a six after MI failed to reach their first target in 87 balls. (IPL Points Table)
"We knew what we needed. We let them get too many runs. Rayudu came in and smashed it and then that last ball six from Tare as well helped us get home," said Anderson, who was the obvious choice for the Man-of-the-Match.
New Zealand batsman Anderson shot into international fame when he smashed the fastest ODI hundred on January 1 this year, breaking Shahid Afridi's 18-year-old record. He had come into the IPL with a burden of expectations but the left-handed batsman failed to live up to them.
In what proved to be a masterstroke, Mumbai Indians left out Marchant de Lange for the all-important clash against the Royals and included Anderson, who was sent in to bat at number three. He hit six sixes and nine fours as MI roared to victory.
Anderson said he was happy to be able to do something to get the energetic Wankhede Stadium crowd on their feet: "I'm glad I could do something to bring them (the crowd) to their feet. Now I do feel at home here in Mumbai."
The 23-year-old Kiwi said he did not like to complicate things and backed his instincts till the end.
"It was about staying still and backing yourself. The thing is when you complicate things you get in trouble," Anderson said at the post-match presentation. Mumbai Indians, the defending champions, had got off to a disastrous start to their campaign, losing five games on the trot in the United Arab Emirates before scripting a dramatic turnaround on their return to India.
Skipper Rohit Sharma said the performance on Sunday night showed nothing was impossible but added that it would take a while to get his "heartbeat" to normal.
"It will take a little while to get my heartbeat down; this performance does not come everyday but it shows that nothing is impossible. It was a fantastic victory. Anderson was unbelievable. Rayudu played a little cameo there and hats off to Tare," Rohit said after the match and dedicated the win to the people of Mumbai.
Mumbai Indians will now play two-time champions Chennai Super Kings in the eliminator in a repeat of last year's final on Wednesday.