New Delhi: Dwayne Smith and Sachin Tendulkar struck fluent half-centuries in their record 163-run opening stand as Mumbai Indians cantered to a 10-wicket win over Rajasthan Royals in the last league game of the IPL at the Sawai Mansingh stadium on Sunday. The Mumbai duo bettered the previous best of 159 by Chennai Super Kings' Michael Hussey and Murali Vijay in IPL-4. (JPN/Agencies)
Smith slammed 87 off 58 balls while Tendulkar scored a 51-ball 58 to help Mumbai chase down the target of 163 with two overs to spare.
With their place in the playoffs already assured, the win will be a huge morale booster for Mumbai going into the eliminator against holders Chennai.
Chasing a challenging target, Mumbai threw a surprise by sending Smith to open the innings along with Tendulkar.
The move, however, seemed to have worked as the duo quickly put on a half-century stand, with Smith being the dominant of the two. Smith was on the money straightway as he lofted Ajit Chandila -- the offspinner opened the bowling for Rajasthan -- straight down the ground for a six.
The West Indian then worked Shane Watson past the short fine leg region before Tendulkar got into the action with a copybook drive through extra cover.
Mumbai got a big over when Chandila was smashed for 16 runs, which included two huge sixes by Smith.
Luck was also with Mumbai as both Smith and Tendulkar got a few reprieves. While Smith was let off when wicketkeeper Dishant Yagnik missed an easy stumping off Brad Hogg in the left-arm spinner's first over, Tendulkar had a close shave before the ball went through a diving Watson's hands.
If they were not enough, Siddharth Trivedi had Smith caught off his own bowling but, to his misfortune, he had overstepped.
Meanwhile, the 100 was up in the 12th over. And with both Smith and Tendulkar looking at ease, Mumbai knocked off the required runs without any difficulty.
Earlier, Watson top-scored with a 36-ball 45 as Rajasthan Royals posted a challenging total. Watson hit four boundaries and two sixes before Owais Shah and Ashok Menaria provided the late flourish.
Batting first after the coin landed in skipper Rahul Dravid's favour, Rajasthan lost their openers early to be placed at 31 for two in the sixth over.
Dhaval Kulkarni accounted for both the batsmen - he had Dravid caught behind by Dinesh Karthik and then sent back the in-form Ajinkya Rahane as he pulled a short ball straight to midwicket.
Watson along with Stuart Binny added 53 runs for the third wicket to stabilise Rajasthan's innings. What must have helped the hosts was that the two consumed just six overs to add those runs.
Both played some effective shots during their partnership and prominent among those were the six by Watson over deep midwicket off Dwayne Smith, and Binny's slog-swept maximum off Harbhajan Singh over deep square leg.
Even the quick Lasith Malinga got a bit of stick initially as Watson picked two fours against the Sri Lankan.
A moment of indiscretion cost Binny his wicket as Kieron Pollard ran him out to cut short his innings at 30 off 17 balls. Binny hit three fours and two sixes.
But Watson continued to fight as he smashed Pollard for a massive six over deep midwicket and followed that with a four to fine leg.
However, while going for one too many, Watson ended up holing out to deep midwicket after mistiming Pollard's final delivery in the 14th over.
Shah then produced a few hits to the fence, including a six and a four off Pollard, to prop up Rajasthan's innings.
Shah was, to an extent, helped by Malinga as the Lankan made a mess of a chance in the deep after failing to judge the ball.
Menaria, too, looked in good nick and contributed 21 off 20 balls, which included an upper cut six off R P Singh over third man. Luck was on Menaria's side as the batsman, after being cleaned up by Malinga, found that the bowler had overstepped.
In the final league game of the season, with the playoff places already decided, Rajasthan have brought in Dishant Yagnik for Shreevats Goswami and Brad Hogg in place of Johan Botha.
The Teams (from):
Mumbai Indians: Harbhajan Singh (C), Sachin Tendulkar, Abu Nechim, Amitize Singh, Aiden Blizzard, James Franklin, Kieron Pollard, Y Chahal, Herschelle Gibbs, Davy Jacobs, Richard Levi, Dinesh Kartik, Dhawal Kulkarni, K Yadav, Lasith Malinga, Sushant Marathe, Pragyan Ojha, Munaf Patel, Robin Peterson, Sujit Nayak, Rohit Sharma, Suryakumar Yadav, Jaydev Shah, Rudra Pratap Singh, T Suman, Pawan Suyal, Aditya Tare, Apporva Wankhede.
Rajasthan Royals: Rahul Dravid (C), Aakash Chopra, Abhishek Raut, Aditya Dole, Ajinkya Rahane, Ajit Chandela, Amit Paunikar, Amit Singh, Ankit Chavan, Ashok Meneria, Deepak Chakar, Dishant Yagnik, Faiz Fazal, Gajendra Singh, Pankaj Singh, S Sreesanth, Samad Fallah, Sidharth Trivedi, Stuart Binny, Shreevats Goswami, Sumit Narwal, Brad Hodge, Brad Hogg, Dinesh Chandimal, Johan Botha, Kevon Cooper, Owais Shah, Paul Collingwood, Shaun Tait.
New Delhi: Dwayne Smith and Sachin Tendulkar struck fluent half-centuries in their record 163-run opening stand as Mumbai Indians cantered to a 10-wicket win over Rajasthan Royals in the last league game of the IPL at the Sawai Mansingh stadium on Sunday.
The Mumbai duo bettered the previous best of 159 by Chennai Super Kings' Michael Hussey and Murali Vijay in IPL-4.