Cricket sure is a funny game. There are always a myriad of statistics that dictate the result. In the lead up to Rajasthan Royals’ trip to Mumbai, a few of these statistics held more prominence than others. But at the innings-break, it boiled down to an improbable 190 off 87 balls for Mumbai Indians to get to book a play-off berth.
But the thing about the Twenty 20 format is that it is a little funnier. Mumbai’s Corey Andersen led a near solo effort, scoring a brisk 95 runs off 44 balls, taking the hosts to an astounding five-wicket victory. And with more drama in the end.
Needing two off the last ball to qualify, Mumbai got only one. It led to all sorts of discussions in the middle and finally things became clear that with the net run rate of both teams tied, Mumbai would get another chance. They now needed four off the next ball.
New batsman Aditya Tare hit a six off the juicy full toss on his pads by none other than James Falkner, a specialist death bowler for Australia in T20s.
It was a scintillating innings from Andersen, who was bought at a steep price of R 4.5 crore by Mumbai Indians. Till Sunday, Anderson’s contribution had been average, seldom rising to the height of his high purse.
Somewhat like Yusuf Pathan of the KKR, who played a similar innings on Saturday to take his team to second spot in the points table.
Andersen was left in the bench in the last game at the same venue. But he reversed the notion with a swagger, scripting a fine knock that made for some fine viewing for the Mumbai Indians fans.
Rajasthan were equally to be blamed though. Captain Shane Watson chose to opt for pace instead of his spinners. In all Rajasthan spinners bowled just two overs as against 11 by the Mumbai Indians.
Of course they did not get to bowl their full 20 overs but one of their most prolific wicket-taker leg-spinner Praveen Tambe had bowled just one over till the match got out of hand by the 14th over.
He gave away 11 against a plundering Andersen and it had raised hopes of a Royals’ comeback. It similarly raised questions as to why he was not brought on earlier.
But matches like these cannot be analysed by cricketing logic. Individual brilliance takes over and once a batsman gets into his groove, he can really walk on water.