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21-May-2012 03:08:00 GMT
Rajasthan Royals v Mumbai Indians, IPL 2012, Jaipur

Smith and Tendulkar Crush Rajasthan by 10 wickets

Jaipur: Even as Rajasthan batted in the inconsequential last league match of IPL 5 at Sawai Mansingh Stadium on Sunday, the chants in the stands went "Sachin, Sachin". That, though, was no indication that the fans of the host team had switched loyalties to Team Mumbai. Just that, they were showing affection for their favourite cricketer.

However, in between the "Sachin" chants, the fans did not forget to cheer an Ashok Menaria four or a six. Rajasthan were just playing for pride, but the fans were not going to desert their team. Not when Lasith Malinga clean bowled Menaria with a perfect yorker that turned out to be a no-ball.

The silent murmurs at a wicket lost were replaced by a loud cheer when the no-ball was announced. So what if it was a dead match, the packed house was here to enjoy it!

If Mumbai looked at this match as a warm-up before the eliminator against Chennai, they would be mighty pleased. Chasing a decent target of 163, they toyed with Rajasthan bowlers to win with 10 wickets and 12 balls to spare. Sachin Tendulkar treated his fans to an unbeaten 58, even though it was his opener partner Dwayne Smith who played the dominant hand.

The West Indian remained unbeaten on 87, an innings that would have inspired a lot of confidence in the Mumbai ranks. His innings included a minor glitch in a catch off a no-ball.

Tendulkar, on the other hand, wasn't his free-flowing self. The miss-hits eluded the fielders and the cracking shots to the boundary were few and far between. The best one coming after he had crossed his 50, a cover drive off Shane Watson. Tendulkar would welcome these runs into his bag. This was his second half-century of the tournament and he is surely warming up for a really big one.

The visitors were of course, helped by the Rajasthan bowling. Ajit Chandila was ineffective, Shaun Tait erratic and Shiddharth Trivedi mediocre. Added to that was the sloppy fielding. Rajasthan clearly have to work on these areas when they come back next season.

For Rajasthan, things really did not start off the way they would have liked. The Rahul Dravid-Ajinkya Rahane opening partnership, which has been quite successful this season, lasted just nine balls as Dravid chased a wide ball into wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik's gloves. That was Dhawal Kulkarni's first of three wickets for 18 runs, the second being Rahane and the third Menaria. It was Kulkarni's first game of the season and he would be quite happy.

It was thanks to Shane Watson and Stuart Binny that the hosts posted a respectable score, which ultimately proved too little. Binny went after Mumbai skipper Harbhajan Singh, smashing him for three fours and a six in one over, the bowler's second and the team's 10th. He was run out, going for a single that wasn't there. That ended a productive 43-run partnership with Watson. Binny contributed 30 off 17 balls, an innings that would have been a lot more effective had it come a couple of matches earlier.

The Australian, however, kept going, falling five short of a half-century. These two contributions boosted Rajasthan's score, with Owais Shah adding some more towards the end.

Brief scores
Rajasthan Royals (Watson 45, Kulkarni 3-18)
Mumbai Indians 163 for 0 (Smith 87*, Tendulkar 58*)
Result Mumbain Indians won by ten wickets
MOM Dwanye Smith (Mumbain Indians)
Points Mumbain Indians 2, Rajasthan Royals 0

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