Tendulkar guides Mumbai to easy victory

MUMBAI: Sachin Tendulkar’s unbeaten 71 dismantled Kolkata Knight Riders as Mumbai Indians went on top of the Indian Premier League (IPL) standings after a seven-wicket victory at the Brabourne Stadium on Monday.

Tendulkar was at his best and tore into the Kolkata bowlers as Mumbai chased down their target with nine balls to spare after the Mumbai bowlers did well to restrict the Knight Riders to 155 in their 20 overs. The victory also meant Mumbai kept their unbeaten streak against Knight Riders intact after five clashes.

Tendulkar faced 48 balls that included 10 boundaries and was particularly harsh on Shane Bond and Ishant Sharma as Mumbai were off to a terrific start to their run chase. Shikhar Dhawan, playing his first game of the tournament, supported Tendulkar with a solid 23. Mumbai were coasting in their run chase when Dhawan departed, but Saurabh Tiwary maintained a healthy asking rate along with Tendulkar before his quickfire knock was ended by a spectacular catch from Sourav Ganguly.

Despite a quiet period where Murali Kartik had held up the Mumbai Indians, Ishant Sharma’s re-introduction opened the floodgates. Tendulkar accelerated and along with R Sathish, Mumbai returned to winning ways after their stutter against Bangalore.

Earlier, Chris Gayle made an impressive start to his IPL campaign as his solid 75 helped Knight Riders to post 155-3. Gayle, however, wasn’t at his destructive best owing to Mumbai who bowled to a plan and didn’t allow the Kinght Riders batsmen to dictate terms. Kolkata had only lost three wickets but they could never accelerate after captain Sourav Ganguly won the toss and opted to bat. Gayle and Owais Shah were out in the last over.

Gayle and Ganguly got the visitors off to a solid start but never managed to tear into the bowlers. The openers added 70 runs for the first wicket but it took up 11 overs before Harbhajan Singh struck, bowling Ganguly for 31. Owais Shah and Gayle, however, picked up momentum in the last five overs which yielded 53 runs. Gayle was out off the last ball of the innings after a 60-ball effort which included seven fours and two sixes, while Shah scored a 23-ball 31.