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IPL 2014: Mumbai magic at the Wankhede

Corey Anderson
The star of the show – Corey Anderson

There has always been a never ending discussion on whether IPL is a boon or bane for Indian cricket. It was started in 2008 with much fanfare and was supposed to be the next big thing in cricket. It was started as an event for training the younger cricketers who would get to play against the best in the business. Unfortunately, since its inception, IPL has been mowed by one controversy or the other.

Sometimes due to the after match parties, sometimes due to the differences between IPL franchises and the IPL governing council and more recently due to the match fixing saga. Inspite of  various challeneges it has faced in the past, forunately for the cricket fans IPL has continued to run.

IPL has a history of matches which more often than not go down to the wire. This is what I would say is the selling quotient for this event, apart from the hefty pay that the cricketers command. It’s not the cricketers but it’s the cricket fan that turnout in the stadiums and the viewership on televisions that makes an event like IPL, a success. Close matches attract more crowds than the one-sided ones. People like to see matches where there is a fierce battle between bat and bowl. This IPL has not been any different. Not suprisingly, a couple of them took place when we had almost reached the business phase of the tournament.

The match played between RR vs MI played in Wankhede was just thrilling to say the least. It had all the ingredients of a Bollywood blockbuster: emotions, drama, climax and the anticlimax. RR just needed a win to make it to the top four. Mumbai. on the other hand, needed to win by a big margin in order to surpass RR’s net run rate. RR batting first, set up an imposing total of 189. MI needed to achieve the target in 14.3 overs to qualify for the playoffs.

Even though Mumabi had Simmons, Pollard, Sharma, Anderson, this was an herculean task. They came out guns blazing from the start as they had nothing to lose. But soon they lost their way and a win looked improbable leave aside the qualification. Though the Wankhede crowd was cheering with their lungs out, they too thought it would be impossible for the defending champions to make it through . Among all these chaos, one man was still fighting it out in the middle. The man with the fastest hundred in ODIs agaisnt his name, Corey Anderson. He kept on going for his shots inspite of losing wickets at the other end.

After the fall of Rohit Sharma’s wicket, Rayudu came in to join Anderson. Rayudu, always has been the saviour-in-chief for MI in the past. This was the reason, he was retained by Mumabi in this year’s IPL auction. He immediately proved his worth by stroking a flury of boundaries and bringing the required rate under control. With Rayudu, Anderson got an able partner and suddenly qualification seemed to be within Mumbai’s reach.

The real drama started in the 14th over. With 9 required of 3 balls, it was still anyone’s game. James Faulkner was handed the ball by his captain. Anderson faced the first ball but he could only manage a single. Now, the equation became really tough for MI with 8 required of 2 balls. Pressure was mounting on either sides. Much to the glee of Rayudu, Faulkner bowled a full toss way outside leg stump. It was a nothing ball and Rayudu easily guided it over the fine leg boundary for a six. Wankhede erupted with joy. MI breathed a sigh of relief and now they felt that it was their game. But the match was far from over.

MI needed 2 of 1 ball to qualify for the playoffs. Faulkner bowled a ball outside off which was short of good length. Rayudu could only manage to play it to short cover. Rayudu was runout after completing the first run. The scores were level. Rayudu was distraught and few RR players felt that they had prevented MI from going through which meant they had qualified.

Here, the real confusion started. The umpires came into interfere and it was established after consultation from the match referee that RR had still not come out of the docks. MI still had a chance if they scored a boundary or a six of the next ball. Tare was the new man in and he was on strike. Faulkner bowled another full toss outside leg stump and the result was same, a six.

Mumbai qualified and RR were out of the tournament. RR captain Shane Watson was shocked and Dravid was down with rage. Faulkner had an forgettable night. In the all importnant over, he bowled not one but two full toss outside leg stump which got the expected punishment. The last ball six started wild celebrations by MI players as well as the Wankhede crowd. Mumbai magic seemed to have worked again.

This game again proved that IPL cricket is here to stay. These kind of closely contested matches bring cricket fans to the stadium. Whatever be the report of the Mudgal committee, I as a cricket fan will always love and admire IPL cricket.

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