Added At: 2010-04-12 11:46 PM
Last Updated At: 2010-04-13 5:31 AM
JAIPUR: Captain Sachin Tendulkar led from the front with an unbeaten 59-ball 89, his highest Indian Premier League (IPL) score, as Mumbai Indians beat Rajasthan Royals by 37 runs to become the first team to seal their place in the semi-finals on Sunday.
Tendulkar struck 10 fours and two sixes to not only register his fifth fifty of the tournament, but also become the highest run-getter in with 506 runs and snatch the Orange cap from Royal Challengers Bangalore’s Jacques Kallis (501). Yet again the Mumbai innings revolved around Tendulkar as he first shared crucial 63 runs for the fourth wicket with JP Duminy (31) and then added 50 runs with Kieron Pollard (25) to guide the table toppers to 174-5, especially after they were 30-3 at one stage. Shane Watson was the pick of the Rajasthan bowlers with 3-37.
Chasing a competitive target, Rajasthan did not help their cause as Mumbai restricted the hosts to 137-8, courtesy some rash shots and insensible running between the wickets which saw the downfall of three of their batsmen — Shane Watson, Faiz Fazal and Abhishek Jhunjhunwala (22).
With this win Mumbai are through to the semi-finals with 16 points from
11 matches, while Rajasthan face a must-win
situation in their remaining two outings.
Earlier opting to field, Watson struck twice in the second over — Sanath Jayasuriya and Ambati Rayudu — to disbalance Mumbai innings. The veteran Sri Lankan Jayasuriya lasted only two balls, spooning a Watson delivery down to Abhishek Jhunjhunwala. Two balls later Watson had the best of Rayudu with a beauty of a bouncer that kissed the right-hander’s glove onto wicket-keeper Naman Ojha’s safe hands.
Saurabh Tiwary showed some sparkle with three fours before he hooked one straight to Aditya Dole at fine leg to give Watson his third wicket. Tendulkar, however, was rock solid at the other end and together with Duminy he milked the Rajasthan bowling to drag Mumbai out of trouble with the 56-ball 63-run stand.
But just when Tendulkar and Duminy started to open up Siddharth Trivedi broke the dangerous-looking partnership, getting the wicket of the later caught by Lumb off Trivedi. It could have been double blow for Mumbai three overs later had it not been for Dole, who dropped the vital wicket of Tendulkar on 45 off Trivedi as the champion batsman went for an extravagant hook.
Having survived a life there was no stopping the Mumbai skipper as he and big-hitting Pollard smashed Rajasthan bowlers to all parts of the ground to notch up the 50-run fifth-wicket stand that came off just 5.3 overs.