Defending Ranji champions Mumbai began day 4 at 201/6, needing another 39 runs to take victory in their game against Haryana at the Lahli cricket stadium.
At the crease were Sachin Tendulkar, playing his last Ranji Trophy game, and bowler Dhawal Kulkarni. Tendulkar ensured there would be no further alarm bells for Mumbai by calmly guiding them to a four wicket win, knocking off the required runs in just a little under two hours.
Haryana needed wickets early, but their bowlers, who have bowled extremely well throughout the game, couldn’t find the right line and length and the Mumbai batsmen kept their heads to inch towards victory. They didn’t take much risk and were more than happy to wait for the bad balls to put away for runs.
While Tendulkar acted as a sheet anchor, Kulkarni too played a handy innings defending stoutly. It was the bowler, in fact, who in the end hit the winning runs, when he caressed a straight drive for four and punched the air with delight. The other Mumbai players soon rushed onto the field to carry Sachin off the ground. Tendulkar ended up unbeaten on 79.
“It was a challenging wicket, bowlers had a lot of help. It was a good challenge. A bit on the slower side,” said Sachin after the match. “Haryana side played very good cricket, good challenge, good practice. This is just the kind of outing I was looking for.”
“I share whatever I see from the non-stiker’s end,” said Sachin about playing mentor. “But more than the chat, it was about trying to stay relaxed.”
“The series against West Indies will be a good one. My last two Tests and I am looking forward to them,” Sachin further added.
Before the match began, it was widely speculated that this match would be Tendulkar’s last Ranji game, but if reports are to be believed, the MCA has apparently requested the master batsman to play out the season. Tendulkar is said to have told the MCA that he would make a decision on it after his 200th Test.