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 its place in the semifinals of the Twenty20 event here on Sunday.
Mumbai Indians’ skipper Sachin Tendulkar plays a shot during the IPL T20 match against Deccan Chargers at the Brabourne stadium in Mumbai on Sunday. Shirish Shete / PTI
Tendulkar decorated his innings with 10 fours and two sixes to not only register his fifth fifty of the tournament, but also become the highest run-getter in IPL-3 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 J.P. Duminy (31 off 32) and then added 50 runs with Kieron Pollard (25 off 13) to guide the table toppers to 174 for five, especially after they were 30 for three at one stage.
Shane Watson was the pick of the Rajasthan bowlers with figures of three for 37.
Chasing the competitive target, Rajasthan did not help their cause as Mumbai restricted the hosts to 137 for eight, 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 off 22).
With this win Mumbai are through to the semis with 16 points from 11 matches, while Rajasthan face a must-win situation in their remaining two outings.
Michael Lumb started on a positive note for Rajasthan with two fours off Dhawal Kulkarni in the second over before the Mumbai pacer got the better of the left-hander, caught by Duminy.
Zaheer Khan then removed the other Rajasthan opener Naman Ojha in the first ball of the third over, caught by a diving Tendulkar at the first slip.
As if that was not enough, Watson fell prey to an unnecessary mix up with Faiz Fazal two balls later. The Australian was caught short of the crease by Ambati Rayudu’s direct throw as he responded to a non-existent single call from Fazal.
And then it was the turn of Fazal to be at the receiving end as he became the victim of a miscommunication with Jhunjhunwala to see Rajasthan totter at 40 for four after seven overs.
Yusuf Pathan too did very little to justice to his name as he ballooned one to Harbhajan Singh off Pollard after hitting the West Indian for a six in the previous delivery.
Adam Voges showed some resistance with a 27-ball 28-run innings before he edged one to Rayudu off Zaheer.