So were the Mumbai Indians ready and better prepared? Perhaps yes; and this was the difference. Mumbai Indians knew it very well that the best chance of winning this game lies in chasing it down . Defeating Rajasthan Royals with a margin of about 48 runs was always going to be difficult for them.
And the master stroke was the inclusion of Corey Anderson. Anderson was the biggest pre auction name to be discussed . He , though did not get a lucrative deal he deserved, but still was a man , after whom almost every team went.
Corey was definitely a failure till now .He could not contribute with the bat and with the ball either. He was picked as a genuine all rounder who could ball fast and reach speeds upto the mid 140s. But , the major part of that was played in the UAE , where the pitch was low and slow. It did not fit the style of Anderson’s batting , as he likes the ball to come onto the bat. Neither did it provide the pace to his bowling. Even in the second leg , he didn’t get much chance on flat tracks like Mumbai or Bangalore. To be fare, he has not played enough cricket on such conditions and every World class player (Non- sub continental) has struggled in such conditions.
But MI management was very smart. They knew that it can be strong batting only, which can win the game for them. They went after going with a stronger batting lineup, dropping Merchant de Lange for Corey Anderson.
They knew his potential on a Mumbai track , a batting paradise. He could hit sixes very easily and being a left hander , he was their answer to much successful Tambe. He could clear the rope , hitting it with the spin to some long distance. Being a left hander, he provided that extra option in the middle order as the others out there are the right handers.
What Corey did is history now. He belted the Rajasthan bowlers for some biggies and his powerful strokes straight down the wicket were just unstoppable.He could not hit a century but his 44 ball 95 just ensured that Mumbai take away the cake and most importantly in the required overs.
Mumbai now seems to be more spirited and more settled side and a final berth may not be an upset.