Mumbai: In-form Sachin Tendulkar hammered a blistering unbeaten half century to lead Mumbai Indians to an easy seven-wicket victory over Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League on Monday.
Captain Tendulkar, who struck a 48-ball unbeaten 71, tore apart the Knight Rider bowling attack with a superb exhibition of strokeplay to notch up his second IPL III half century in front of a packed crowd at the Brabourne Stadium.
He was given good support by opener Shikhar Dhawan (23 in 21 balls) and one-down Saurabh Tiwary, who made a quick-fire 30 in 24 balls with three fours and a six, as Mumbai Indians romped home with nine balls to spare in chase of 156.
Earlier, Chris Gayle’s stroke-filled 60-ball 75 in his first IPL III appearance powered Kolkata Knight Riders to a competitive 155 for three after the visitors elected to bat.
Tendulkar, who hit 10 fours for his fifth IPL half century, was particularly severe on speedster Ishant Sharma whom he hooked and pulled with disdain for the majority of his boundaries.
MumbaiIndians Sachin Tendulkar hits a shot against Kolkata Knight Riders during their Indian Premier League match in Mumbai on Monday. Shirish Shete / PTI
Tendulkar and Dhawan, playing his first match, put on 61 runs in 6.5 overs to give the MI innings a flying start, and 56 for the second wicket with Tiwary.
Tendulkar, whose previous half-century (63) helped MI to beat Delhi Daredevils in their second tie, later forged an unfinished stand of 27 with Rajagopal Satish (21 not out in 11 balls) for the fourth wicket to take the home team past the finish line in 18.3 overs.
With the win today, their third in four matches, Mumbai Indians joined Royal Challengers Bangalore and Deccan Chargers at the IPL III table with six points.
Kolkata Knight Riders, on the other hand, slupmed to their third loss on the trot after winning their first two matches in IPL III.
Mumbai Indians rocketed off to a brilliant start in their run-chase with Dhawan setting the tone in the first over before Tendulkar took over the attacking reins from his junior partner.
Dhawan, included in the team to launch the innings after MI left out out-of-touch veteran Sri Lankan batsman Sanath Jayasuriya, struck New Zealand speedster Shane Bond for three fours in the first over.
Turning Bond to the fine leg fence off the first ball, the left-handed opener from Delhi cover-drove the Kiwi fast bowler exquisitely for his second boundary before finishing the over in style by square driving for another four.
Tendulkar, who watched his teammate from the other end in appreciation, followed suit immediately by carving the tall Ishant for three fours, the first two shots passing the bowler on his follow through on either side and the last a superb cover drive.
With 24 runs coming in first two overs, KKR skipper Sourav Ganguly turned his attention to Gayle’s fast off breaks and the West Indian applied the brakes in third over.