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IPL 2010 – Mumbai Indians vs Rajasthan Royals: Dominant Tendulkar Takes Mumbai To Semi Finals

By on April 11, 2010

Mumbai Indians 174 for 5 (Tendulkar 89*, Watson 3-37) beat Rajasthan Royals 137 for 8 (Dole 30, Zaheer 2-17) by 37 runs…

Sachin Tendulkar shored up Mumbai Indians yet again, steering them into the semi-final with his fifth half-century of the IPL that took him to the top of the run-charts in the tournament. He overcame a strong start from Rajasthan Royals by building two crucial partnerships: the first with JP Duminy to lead Mumbai’s recovery after the loss of three early wickets, and the second with Kieron Pollard to accelerate at the end. That effort was backed up by a clinical performance from Mumbai’s bowlers which left Rajasthan at fourth place on the points table, and inflicted on them their first defeat in nine games in Jaipur.

While their chase seemed doomed to fail after four wickets in the first seven overs, Rajasthan will look back at two phases in the game where Mumbai could have been restricted. They grabbed three wickets in the Powerplay, but failed to keep up the pressure amid a determined rebuilding endeavour by Tendulkar and Duminy. And they performed poorly in the field, with Adam Voges missing an easy opportunity to run out Pollard off his first ball, and Aditya Dole dropping a sitter off Tendulkar when on 45. The lapses cost Rajasthan dearly, as the pair helped plunder 65 off the last five overs to lift Mumbai to a score that proved way out of Rajasthan’s reach.

Tendulkar faced just 12 deliveries in Mumbai’s Powerplay, but adapted superbly, restraining himself while ensuring a healthy rate after the early setbacks and taking off with ease at the death against Rajasthan’s seamers. Shane Watson removed Jayasuriya in his first over, and followed up by dismissing the finds for Mumbai this season, Ambati Rayudu and Saurabh Tiwary, using the bouncer, a weapon used with much success against local batsmen. But Duminy proved a suitable foil for Tendulkar, and the pair worked the field, picked the singles by calling well and accumulated 30 runs in five overs after the Powerplay by stroking just one boundary.

There was hardly anything for the Jaipur crowd to cheer thereafter, but franchise loyalties mattered little in a Shane Warne v Tendulkar contest that fans were deprived of in the previous encounter between the teams. Tendulkar came up trumps today, with three delightful boundaries in one over against his counterpart. Warne was the only Rajasthan spinner to rely on flight, and Tendulkar improvised twice by striking him inside-out through extra cover. And when Warne dropped one short, Tendulkar made room to cut him through point.

Rajasthan would have sensed a chance once they broke the 63-run stand between Duminy and Tendulkar in the 13th over, but mistakes in the field and some indisciplined bowling at the death cost them. The seamers often bowled too short and when varying their pace, pitched the ball on a length which Tendulkar and Pollard were able to feed off with ease. Pollard began the surge with a slapped four off Dole in the 16th over and clipping Watson through fine leg in the next. He singled out Dole for treatment, smashing him for a six and a four off consecutive deliveries before being bowled to end a 50-run stand.

Tendulkar’s acceleration was more calculated. He had picked out his spots in the field and it didn’t help Rajasthan that their bowlers gave him ample opportunity to find them. With a mid-on inside the circle in the penultimate over, Watson bowled short and was hammered over that fielder for two consecutive fours. When Siddharth Trivedi came on next, Tendulkar targeted the wide long-on region for two successive sixes and finished off with 20 in the final over. The only moment of promise in Rajasthan’s chase was when Michael Lumb struck Dhawal Kulkarni for two fours in the second over, before slashing one straight to point. Zaheer Khan was the best of the Mumbai bowlers, nipping the ball away from the batsmen and clocking in excess of 140 kph and earned his reward when opener Naman Ojha edged one to slip.

While Rajasthan were generous in the field, Mumbai didn’t waste their chances as Shane Watson and Faiz Fazal were run-out after responding late to calls from their partners. All hopes rested on Yusuf Pathan but there were no miracles this time, and when he was caught in the 14th over with the score on 85, Rajasthan’s fate was sealed.

After undermining Rajasthan’s early advantage in the match, and winning his own mini-battle with their captain Warne, Tendulkar’s domination was the defining feature of Mumbai’s comprehensive win.

Siddhartha Talya is an editorial assistant at Cricinfo

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