Rather than a group stage clash, the battle between Mumbai Indians and Rajasthan Royals become more of a quarter-final match as the winner of the match will qualify into the last four of IPL 7. A mere victory was needed for Royals and Mumbai, who chose to chase after winning the toss needed to achieve the target in 14.3 overs in order to have a better Net Run Rate(NRR) than Royals.

From 190 to win from 87 balls, it came all the way down to 2 needed off 1 ball. It was when Mumbai Indians’ Ambati Rayudu mistimed a shot straight into the hands of Brad Hodge at covers. Rayudu went for a single and in the end, a needless throw from Hodge saw Mumbai pair of Rayudu and Man of the Match Corey Anderson to go for the second run just to see the former failed to complete the second run.

At that time, the scorecard read 189-5 in 14.3 overs and Mumbai seemed have missed the playoffs berth by just one run. It was when the twist in the tale occurred. After so much of confusion, it was told that Mumbai can still make it if they manage to score a six off the next four balls. Aditya Tare walked in and finished off the match in the very next ball with a maximum over the square leg boundary and thus took Mumbai into the playoffs.

In the calculation of NRR, the final score will be considered and the target. For Mumbai Indians, the requirement to finish the chase in 87 deliveries was only subject to their final score being 190.

“The chasing team, if they take a few extra deliveries to get home, can still push their NRR up to the required fraction if they manage to achieve a final score that is sufficiently higher – by finishing things off with a boundary.”

With the six from Tare, Mumbai’ NRR read 0.078, while Royals’ was 0.076. If Mumbai Indians had managed just a single run in the fourth ball of 14th over which was needed for their victory, their NRR would have gone below that of Royals’.

Since they faced an extra ball, they would have needed to get their score up to at least 191 to make it to the playoffs. So their only option was to hit a boundary as running two is not an option because they needed just a run to win.

Even a six off the first ball of 15th over would have propelled Mumbai into the playoffs. If this had happened, Mumbai would have ended with a NRR of 0.080 against Royals’ 0.074.

Here is what cricket statistician Mohandas Menon tweeted about the NRR issue: