Calcutta: Corey Anderson came into limelight when he hit a 36-ball hundred in an ODI against the West Indies on the first day of this year. Such was the impact of the innings that he became one of the most sought-after players in the IPL auction this year. Mumbai Indians, finally, paid a whopping $750000 to bag the left-hander.
However, the New Zealander had failed to produce a no-holds-barred innings until Sunday when he went all out against Rajasthan Royals and helped his team cross the finish line.
He scored 95 not out off 44 balls, including six sixes and nine boundaries. The innings not only helped Mumbai Indians win the match, but also qualify for the play-offs.
Corey says the innings holds a special place in his heart because it helped Mumbai Indians qualify for the play-offs, especially after losing five consecutive matches in the UAE leg of the tournament.
“It is an unbelievable feeling… I can only look back at the UAE leg, where we got written off… And then, I look at our remarkable turnaround when we landed in India. When we came to Mumbai, we began to roll and there was a sense that we would qualify for the play-offs. But to do it in such dramatic fashion in front of our home crowd is an awesome feeling,” Corey told IPL’s official website.
Speaking further, he said: “It was a massive total to chase… We knew it would be tough, but we also knew that if we backed ourselves and gave our 100 per cent, we would come out on top.
“Personally, I wanted to play freely and go for the big shots. Some days, the shots come off and sometimes they don’t.
“But Sunday was one of those days when I wanted to get a big one for the team. There were times during the innings when I could not hit the middle of the bat, but still managed to find the gaps. I didn’t mind it. At the end of the day, what mattered was the win and that made the innings more special.”
In the Eliminator on Wednesday, Mumbai Indians will face Chennai Super Kings (CSK), to whom they lost both their matches so far. Speaking about their opponents, Corey said: “It is perfectly set for us. We play in front of our home crowd next, and if we take this winning momentum to the next few games, we have a good chance of winning the tournament.
“CSK are a formidable side… But we are not afraid of them. We need to fire in unison if we want to beat them.”
Corey said that Mumbai Indians executed the plans brilliantly. “I had faith in the batsmen to follow. Ambati Rayudu blasted every delivery he faced. It was a beautiful cameo from him, and credit to all the other batsmen who contributed to the win. It wasn’t an easy job getting boundaries off every delivery, but the guys stuck to the plan and executed it beautifully.”
Asked whether he was nervous, when the team needed 2 off 1 and Rayudu was facing the most crucial delivery of the match, he said: “I wasn’t nervous. I just told myself, whatever happens, happens… We will have to move on if we don’t qualify, and if we can get the team a win, nothing like it.”
However, Rayudu could only take a run before being run out. As a result, the scores were tied at that time and Mumbai Indians needed a boundary off the next ball to qualify for the play-offs on better net run rate. Aditya Tare did the needful as he hit a six off James Faulkner delivery.
Corey credited for Tare for not letting his effort go in vain. “The calculation was simple and hats off to Tare. We were fortunate enough to get the ball through for a six in a crunch situation, and it feels splendid to end up on the winning side after that.”