New Zealand all-rounder Corey Anderson first caught the fancy of Indian fans on January 1 this year when he broke Shahid Afridi's record for the fastest ODI century. He slammed his ton in only 36 balls in contrast to Afridi's 37, and it was a given that the IPL franchises would make a beeline for him during the auctions.
He was lapped up by Mumbai Indians for a whopping Rs 4.5 crore, but till the game against Rajasthan Royals at the Wankhede Stadium, the 23-year-old had done little to justify this price tag.
On Sunday however, Anderson broke through the shackles in style and brutalised the RR attack into submission and led Mumbai's charge into the play-offs of IPL-7. He hammered an unbeaten 95 off 44 balls taking his tally to 245 runs for the tournament in 11 games.
Speaking about the difference Anderson made to the side, MI skipper Rohit Sharma said: "Anderson proved to everyone that he is capable of playing such knocks. He always had that ability to play this way. I don't know what was happening earlier on.
'Corey got the license to go'
But today he performed the way we expected him to. It was a good choice to get him to bat at No 3 and give him the license to just go and play his shots and he did just that."
Corey Anderson celebrates his 50 on Sunday. Pic/PTI
On whether Anderson was under any sort of pressure after an ordinary season thus far, Rohit said: "He is excited about the tournament. It is his first IPL.
He wanted to do well. He was trying hard but things were not falling in place. I had played with him in New Zealand recently and saw what kind of talent he has. I always believed he could produce a performance like that any time. I hope he continues that form which would be really good for us."