Haryana v Mumbai, Ranji Trophy, Group A, 4th day October 30, 2013

Tendulkar runs down tricky target


Mumbai 136 (Rahane 51, Joginder 5-16) and 240 for 6 (Tendulkar 79*) beat Haryana 134 (Mohit 49, Nayar 4-38) and 241 (S Singh 63, Zaheer 4-62, Dabholkar 4-54) by four wickets

Sachin Tendulkar ended his domestic career in style, his fighting, controlled, unbeaten 79 guiding Mumbai to a four-wicket win over hosts Haryana in Lahli near Rohtak. Supporting him was Dhawal Kulkarni, who was born on the day Tendulkar made his Ranji Trophy and first-class debut - December 10, 1988. Mumbai did not lose any wickets on the final morning in getting the 39 runs they needed, but were made to toil for close to two hours by disciplined bowling and Ajay Jadeja's field placements.

As soon as Kulkarni straight drove the luckless Mohit Sharma and the ball trickled over the rope, Tendulkar turned around and raised his arms towards the Mumbai dressing room. The Haryana players, some of whom had saluted the man when he had walked out to bat the previous afternoon, converged to shake hands with him. There was a half-hug from former India team-mate Jadeja. The Mumbai players then mobbed Tendulkar, while the Haryana reserves also hurried to congratulate him. He was carried off the field on Mumbai shoulders, and raised his bat as a sizeable crowd joined in celebrating their favourite.

Then began a series of photograph sessions following a short chat with the official broadcaster. Everyone with access to the outfield wanted a picture taken with Sachin. Press cameramen, groundstaff, officials, ball-boys and senior police officers. Every group was obliged. Both teams lined up with Tendulkar sitting in the centre for another photo session. Some Haryana players wanted him to sign t-shirts. Some officials wanted other souvenirs to be autographed. Their demands were met as well. Tendulkar then waved one final time at the crowd that had chanted his name over four days of pulsating cricket.

Tendulkar's final domestic innings will be remembered for the composure he showed in chasing a daunting target in difficult conditions against a testing attack. After a few initial nervous moments, he was hardly flustered as he chipped away at the task.

"It was a challenging wicket. It had a lot for the bowlers. It was fun to bat on this," Tendulkar said. "Slow outfield too, so it might be 240 on paper, but it is 280 anywhere else. 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."

Tendulkar will end his 24-year long international career with two Tests against West Indies in Kolkata and Mumbai next month. "The West Indies series will be a good one," Tendulkar said. "Something I will be looking forward to … my last couple of Test matches. I hope it produces good cricket and lives up to the expectations of all my well-wishers."

The Chaudhry Bansi Lal Stadium amid fields in the village of Lahli was an unlikely location for Tendulkar to close his domestic career. But in the end, everything rose to the occasion. The green pitch produced exciting cricket throughout. Both teams competed hard till the end. People came in thousands every day to watch a legend for the last time. The Haryana Cricket Association manfully handled the tricky task of managing crowds for a high-profile game in a remote location. And finally, the man himself scripted a battling, victorious finish. Tendulkar thanked everyone for playing a part in his farewell.

"The Haryana side played very good cricket. They put on a very good show," Tendulkar said. "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."

Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Joydeep on October 31, 2013, 3:44 GMT

    As always the truly humble spirit; really thank for those irreplaceable moments of joy. Also thank God, that he was given the chance for the perfect send off from domestic cricket. Salute Sachin Tendulkar to have inspired generations of cricketers donning India colours so proudly!

  • Reuben Punnoose on October 31, 2013, 1:26 GMT

    In his last Ranji game, SRT did what he did not do for most of his Test career. Bat well in the 4th innings, with a tailender for company and win the game.

  • Dummy4 on October 31, 2013, 0:39 GMT

    First innings 5 had a regal straight drive that only SRT can play. In the second innings a knock of a fenius. I read in news paper column on 30th as to how he made minor adjustments to his stance, bat held up and not grounded etc. What else could describe the man's intensity and hunger for runs. Where are you critics who always say SRT plays but India loses? His 79* has bolstered the fragile Mumbai batting resources.

  • Ashok on October 30, 2013, 18:28 GMT

    When it came to the crunch, he really came up big & led Mumbai to a Win. It may be his last appearance in Ranji & he did not disappoint the crowd. It looked like if there were another 50 runs to win, Sachin would have loved to have finish that chase + a Ton to his credit. But the little Master did not disappoint any & finished the chase like a piece of Cake!

  • Android on October 30, 2013, 17:31 GMT

    we love u sir

  • Android on October 30, 2013, 13:20 GMT

    little master silenced those who called for his immediate retirement and called west Indies series as waste. long live his legacy!!!

  • Dummy4 on October 30, 2013, 11:43 GMT

    master is always a master

  • Dummy4 on October 30, 2013, 10:48 GMT

    The GOD has done it time and again....and this time does it in his last Ranji innings.

  • Android on October 30, 2013, 10:13 GMT

    Tough pitch, mediocre attack and brilliance of Sachin.. Result couldn't be different.. Last ranji game for Mumbai... But his best knick for Mumbai will be against mark taylor led Australian side in 98.

  • Dummy4 on October 30, 2013, 10:08 GMT

    sachin is awesome... will miss his bullet straight drive.. Good luck sachin for your last test

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