Lahli (Haryana), Oct 30: It was a winning farewell from Ranji Trophy for Sachin Tendulkar on Wednesday. And the chief architect of the success was the man himself.
Tendulkar, turning out for Mumbai for the final time in the country's premier domestic tournament, battled hard over two days to secure a four-wicket victory against Haryana on the fourth and final day at the Bansi Lal Stadium today.
Unbeaten on 55 overnight and still 39 runs away from target, Tendulkar batted with the lower order to guide the team home. Tendulkar was 79 not out (175 balls, 6x4) and raised his arms in joy as Dhawal Kulkarni (16 not out, 72 balls, 2x4) hit a boundary to win the match. Mumbai finished with 240/6 in 93 overs.
The hosts tried out every possible trick to dislodge Tendulkar but the Master Blaster was intent on staying till the end and gift himself a win in his last match.
After 80 overs, captain Ajay Jadeja, a former India team-mate of Tendulkar, took the second new ball hoping to get success. But the 40-year-old and Kulkarni thwarted their bowlers. Tendulkar and Kulkarni's unbroken 7th wicket partnership was worth 50 off 23.3 overs.
It was not the free-flowing Tendulkar who was on view at Lahli. But it could not have been that way as the conditions for batting were not easy. He had to play a dogged knock and played it to perfection.
"It was a challenging wicket. The target of 240 was like 280," Tendulkar said after the match. He thanked his supporters in Lahli and also the Haryana Cricket Association (HCA) for making it a memorable game.
At the end of the day, Mumbai won, Tendulkar won and biggest winner in Lahli was the crowd. They got what they wanted.
Mumbai 240/6 in 93 overs (Sachin Tendulkar 79 not out, Kaustubh Pawar 47, Ajinkya Rahane 40, Abhishek Nayar 24, Mohit Sharma 2/79) and 136 beat Haryana 134 and 241