New Delhi: Sachin Tendulkar bid his first-class career a goodbye in style on Wednesday, leading Mumbai to a four-wicket win over Haryana in the Ranji Trophy at Lahli with his 79 not out.
Tendulkar, who failed in the first innings of his last Ranji Trophy game scoring just 5, was determined to take his side to victory when he came out to bat in Mumbai's second innings. He remained not out by the end of play on Tuesday at 55, with Mumbai just 39 runs away from victory.
On Wednesday, all the Rohtak roads led to Lahli with Tendulkar on the crease and Mumbai not far from win. People could be seen running to the ground in fear of missing the opportunity to watch the master batsman's innings in case Mumbai knock off the remaining runs in a hurry.
But Tendulkar was in no hurry and in partnership with Dhawal Kulkarni took close to two hours to add the 39 runs that helped Mumbai bag full six points against the Haryana side led by Ajay Jadeja, who is making a comeback to domestic cricket.
Tendulkar's patient 79* came off 175 balls, which included six fours. Kulkarni was equally focused in his 16* off 72 balls. The two added exactly 50.
Talking on TV just after playing the match-winning knock, Tendulkar said this was exactly the kind of outing he wished for before his last two Tests: This is just the kind of outing I was looking for. It's fun. All about talking cricket, getting to know each other. It was all about keeping each other relaxed.
He also touched upon the testing Lahli track, which is known for its grassy nature, pace and bounce. "It was a challenging wicket. It was fun to bat on this wicket as the bowlers had a lot of help on this wicket, good challenge. 240 was a big total to chase, outfield was bit on the slower side. Though it was 240, it looked more like 280. Haryana side played very good cricket; they put on a very good show."
Tendulkar also thanked the Lahli crowd and the state association. "I want to thank the Haryana Cricket Association. I want to thank the security; the police did a great job. Thanks to the people of Lahli. Thank you everyone for making this match memorable for me.
"The West Indies series will be a good one. Something I will be looking forward to," he said about his 199th Test in Kolkata and the 200th at home in Mumbai.
Haryana First Innings: 134 (Mohit Sharma 49; Abhishek Nayar 4 for 38)
Mumbai First Innings: 136 (Ajinkya Rahane 51; Joginder Sharma 5 for 16)
Haryana Second Innings: 241 (Sunny Singh 63, Jayant Yadav 45; Zaheer Khan 4 for 62, Vishak Dabholkar 4 for 54)
Mumbai Second Innings: 240 for 6 (Kaustabh Pawar 47, Sachin Tendulkar 79*; Mohit Sharma 2 for 79)