'Sachin made the difference'

'Sachin made the difference'

Haryana captain Ajay Jadeja admitted that the unbeaten 79 by Sachin Tendulkar took the Ranji Trophy match away from them on the fourth and last day.

It was a closely fought contest with Mumbai beginning the day at 201/6, needing 39 runs to win on a green track. Jadeja said to win they needed to get out Tendulkar.

“No one knew who was going to win till the end. The innings he (Sachin) played made all the difference. In a score of 240, if someone makes 79 not out, then that settles the game,” Jadeja told reporters on Wednesday. “We had a chance till the last run was scored. Even with only 4 runs needed I felt we had a chance. It was pretty simple, we had to get Tendulkar. There’s no team in the world that can win when Tendulkar is in the opposition and you don’t get him out. We tried but we couldn’t.

“You call him god, I call him master. If you go by what you call him, then who can fight god and win?” he said.

Jadeja, however, preferred to take positives out of the match. “We are prepared for the season. I don’t think there is anyone in the Haryana dressing room who thinks we haven’t progressed in the last four days. Sachin showed us today that even after 25 years the journey doesn’t end. Hopefully we’ll have a chance to play Mumbai again this season, in the final or one of the knockouts. You can’t win the Ranji Trophy without beating Mumbai.”

Mumbai skipper Zaheer Khan called it an important match for them and praised the quality of pitch here. “When there’s an outright result it’s always good. This game definitely shows that good pitches produce interesting games.

The match went the distance and till the end you were not sure who was winning. “This match was an important one for Sachin in light of the two Tests he’s going to play. The practice he got in this game against a disciplined Haryana attack was perfect preparation for the Tests.”

Zaheer was happy with his team’s fightback in the second innings. “I felt that we were in the driver’s seat till the end of the first day. The second morning was crucial but Joginder Sharma produced a brilliant spell to get them back in the game. I felt that we could have sealed the game there if we had taken a decent lead.

That didn’t happen. I’m happy with the way we fought in the second innings. Sachin’s knock was crucial, but the manner in which Ajinkya (Rahane) and Kaustubh (Pawar) applied themselves was encouraging. Dhawal’s innings at the end was crucial too.”

Tendulkar in Ranji Trophy

Matches    Innings    Runs    Average    Highest Score    100’s    50’s

38              57          4,281    87.36              233*            18     19

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