Mumbai drub Rajasthan

Mumbai drub Rajasthan

Sachin, Smith hit half-centuries

Dwayne Smith and Sachin Tendulkar struck fluent half-centuries in their record 163-run opening stand as Mumbai Indians cantered to a 10-wicket win over Rajasthan Royals in the last league game of the Indian Premier League, here on Sunday night.

The Mumbai duo bettered the previous best of 159 by Chennai Super Kings’ Michael Hussey and Murali Vijay in IPL-4.

Smith slammed 87 off 58 balls while Tendulkar scored a 51-ball 58 to help Mumbai chase down the target of 163 with two overs to spare at the Sawai Mansingh stadium.  With their place in the playoffs already assured, the win will be a huge morale booster for Mumbai going into the eliminator against holders Chennai. Chasing a challenging target, Mumbai threw a surprise by sending Smith to open the innings along with Tendulkar.

The move, however, seemed to have worked as the duo quickly put on a half-century stand, with Smith being the dominant of the two. Smith was on the money straightway as he lofted Ajit Chandila — the off-spinner opened the bowling for Rajasthan — straight down the ground for a six.  

The West Indian then worked Shane Watson past the short fine leg region before Tendulkar got into the action with a copybook drive through extra cover. Mumbai got a big over when Chandila was smashed for 16 runs, which included two huge sixes by Smith.

Luck was also with Mumbai as both Smith and Tendulkar got a few reprieves. While Smith was let off when wicketkeeper Dishant Yagnik missed an easy stumping off Brad Hogg in the left-arm spinner’s first over, Tendulkar had a close shave before the ball went through a diving Watson’s hands.  

If they were not enough, Siddharth Trivedi had Smith caught off his own bowling but, to his misfortune, he had overstepped. Meanwhile, the 100 was up in the 12th over. And with both Smith and Tendulkar looking at ease, Mumbai knocked off the required runs without any difficulty.

Earlier, Watson top-scored with a 36-ball 45 as Rajasthan Royals posted a challenging total. Watson hit four boundaries and two sixes before Owais Shah and Ashok Menaria provided the late flourish.

Batting first after Dravid won the toss, Rajasthan lost their openers early to be placed at 31 for two in the sixth over.

Dhawal Kulkarni accounted for both the batsmen - he had Dravid caught behind by Dinesh Karthik and then sent back the in-form Ajinkya Rahane as he pulled a short ball straight to midwicket.

Watson along with Stuart Binny added 53 runs for the third wicket to stabilise Rajasthan’s innings. What must have helped the hosts was that the two consumed just six overs to add those runs. But that wasn’t enough.

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