Yusuf Pathan and Corey Anderson had many things in common coming in to play their last league matches of the Indian Premier League 2014: both are clean hitters, both are match-winners and both had failed to meet the expectations of their respective franchises and fans.
But when both fired people looked baffled and shocked by the end of their innings. There are no words to describe the innings played by Pathan against the helpless Sunrisers Hyderabad.
He played a blinder, scoring 72 off mere 22 balls striking at a rate of 327.27 that includes five fours and seven sixes. Though Kolkata had already qualified for the next stage and the result of that match was irrelevant for them, there was a chance for them to finish the league stage in second place if they could chase down Hyderabad’s target of 161 in 15.2 overs.
When Yusuf walked in, Kolkata still required 106 off 47 balls to pip Chennai. Yusuf was dropped off the first ball he faced when Srikkanth Aniruddha dropped a sitter while fielding at deep mid-wicket.
From there on, it was one man show as his blistering innings blew the Sunrisers apart. He first took 22 runs off Parvez Rasool’s over and then smashed Karn Sharma for two more sixes in the next over.
The mayhem continued in the next over when he caned the world’s best fast bowler Dale Steyn for 26 runs that includes three fours and two sixes.
He reached his half-century in only 15 balls (fastest half-century in IPL history) as he smashed Steyn for a six in that over. With only 15 required off 12 balls to finish in second, Pathan hit Sharma for another six to virtually seal the match.
The special innings ended when Sharma stuck next ball to remove the dangerous Pathan for 72 runs.
Eventually Kolkata won the match and also piped Chennai but the innings Pathan played left everyone in disbelief of what they have just witnessed.
At the end of the match, his captain Gautam Gambhir said "I have never seen this kind of innings in my career and I don't think I am going to see many like this in future as well."
But Gambhir didn’t have to wait long to witness yet another Yusuf Pathan like (or maybe better) innings. Anderson probably played one the best innings of his life when his ruthless batting made sure Mumbai qualified for the next stage even after losing the first five matches they played in this year’s IPL.
Mumbai had a humongous task at hand since they had to chase down the target of 190 in only 14.3 overs to qualify for the next stage.
Mumbai lost their man in form LendI Simmons in the second over which brought Anderson in. Fans sitting in the stadium didn’t had a clue about what they were going to witness in the next two hours.
Anderson exhibited some clean hitting along with breathtaking shots en route to his 44-ball innings of 95 not out.
His innings was decorated with nine fours and six huge sixes and he, along with Ambati Rayudu, took the game to the wire.
Ambati Rayudu’s contribution cannot be ignored as he clobbered 30 runs from 10 balls and added 81 runs with Anderson in 5.1 overs.
But the real drama was yet to unfold.
With two required off one ball for Mumbai to qualify Rayudu found himself short of his ground while going for the second run which means the score were tied after 14.3 overs.
The Royals dugout started celebrating while Rayudu was on his knees thinking that Mumbai had failed to qualify. Mumbai were pleasantly surprised to find out that even a boundary or a six off the next ball will seal the deal for them which brought the smiles and hopes back into Mumbai’s dugout.
Aditya Tare, facing his first ball, smashed James Faulkner for a huge six over square leg to win the match and more importantly helped Mumbai reach the next stage.
What followed was some crazy football like celebrations as Tare pulled his shirt over his head while his team-mates rushed towards him to congratulate him.
Fans could not expect anything else from this match as the top four was decided off the very last ball of the match - the excitement has perhaps reached its peak as India prepares to witness the last leg of this year's competition.
© Cricket World 2014