Great beginning to a good bye

Cricket Ranji Trophy: Sachin scores unbeaten 79 in farewell domestic tie to help visitors past Haryana

Great beginning to a good bye

Sachin Tendulkar was up for a fight in his last domestic match.

The seaming track and the new ball steamed up the challenge. The master was the last of Mumbai’s recognised batsman. The 39 runs needed for victory could not have taken longer with Haryana bowling with zeal and purpose. It was not the best one had seen of Tendulkar but he hung in with the grit and poise he has shown all these years to guide Mumbai to a four-wicket victory here on Wednesday.

The villagers of Lahli were slow to wake up and mark their attendance at the  Chaudhary Bansi Lal Stadium but gained in strength as sun dispelled the morning nip. Along with it, Mumbai flourished too.  The overnight pair of Tendulkar (79 n.o.) and Dhawal Kullkarni (16 n.o.) batted unhurriedly and saw off the new-ball challenge from Harshal Patel and Mohit Sharma to reach the 240-run target in an hour and 40 minutes. The two bowled with a lot of heart and Patel, in particular, troubled Tendulkar with his pace and bounce.

But for someone who had been shouldering the responsibility of shoring up his side for last 25 years, it was not enough. The master had been peerless in his dedication to his state team. From the time he first turned out for Mumbai against Gujarat in 1988, Tendulkar had turned out for Mumbai, whenever he got a break from international cricket, barring the five-year stretch of from 2001-2006 when national commitments kept him away.

The time had not worn out his determination to serve his team. With Mumbai six wickets down, Tendulkar knew he needed to take over and against the odds did it with panache. The runs trickled in ones and twos but Mumbai did not mind. It was important the batsmen in the middle dug their heels in the ground. In between Tendulkar entertained the packed gathering, with his flicks and deft pushes. Any appeal for lbw only invited jeers from his dedicated followers.

It was, therefore, ironical that the final runs flowed from the bat of Kulkarni, a straight drive that raced to the fence.  But there was no hint of remorse from the master. Instead, he turned to his dressing room and raised his arms in joy, like a warrior. It was over. This was Tendulkar’s last appearance in a domestic match.

The Mumbai team-mates carried him on their shoulders and the Haryana players clapped in a dazed stupor. Tendulkar was beaming all through. It was a fairytale start to his final countdown.


Haryana (I innings): 134

Mumbai (I innings): 136

Haryana (II innings): 241

Mumbai (II innings): Wasim Jaffer c Saini b Patel 1; Kaustubh Pawar c Saini b Sharma 47; Ajinkya Rahane b Yadav 40; Sachin Tendulkar (not out) 79; Abhishek Nayar b Hooda 24; Aditya Tare (run out) 3; Hitesh Shah c Jadeja b Sharma 8; Dhawal Kulkarni (not out) 16; Extras (B-6, LB-14, W-1, NB-1) 22. Total (for six wickets, in 93 overs) 240.

Fall of wickets: 1-1, 2-87, 3-109, 4-160, 5-167, 6-190. Bowling: Mohit Sharma 27-6-29-2; Harshal Patel 19-7-47-1; Ashish Hooda 12-4-27-1; Joginder Sharma 12-7-10-0; Sachin Rana 4-0-16-0; J Yadav 19-3-41-1.
Points: Mumbai 6; Haryana 0.

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