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Sachin a hit again, Mumbai win

Sachin Tendulkar once again re-established the fact that the bowling standards in domestic cricket are just not good enough to test him seriously.

After thrashing 68 off 32 balls in a losing cause against Tamil Nadu on Monday night, the Master Blaster went one better, taking the Haryana bowlers to the cleaners, bludgeoning 69 off 40 balls — a knock that included nine fours and two huge sixes. This time, however, his innings didn’t go in vain, as Mumbai raced to a comfortable eight-wicket win over the North Zone team in the All-India Inter-state Twenty20 Tournament on Tuesday at the Motera.

Chasing Haryana’s 125 for nine, Mumbai reached home in the 15th over. The win put Mumbai’s campaign back on track and surely, skipper Amol Muzumdar was a relieved man. “This was a clinical performance, an excellent win, coming after a bad day for us. We are now getting used to this format,” Muzumdar said.

This is little consolation, but somewhere Tendulkar too must have been pleased, having tasted victory after more than a month — a period which has been nothing short of a nightmare for him. Sachin had to share the limelight, though, with players who were toddlers when he had begun his Test career. Iqbal Abdullah, 20, came in place of an injured Ramesh Powar and returned astonishing figures of five for 10 in four overs. Eighteen-year-old Ajinkya Rahane went out to open with the little champion and for scored an impressive, unbeaten half century, besides sharing a 100-run stand with the maestro.

The only concern for Mumbai, and India, is that Zaheer Khan and Ajit Agarkar are yet to find form. Muzumdar defended the experienced duo nevertheless. “You get hit in this format. Everybody tries to go over the top. The expectations are too high from them as well,” he said.

Mumbai now take on Madhya Pradesh on Wednesday morning, and Tendulkar can expect another session of batting, or rather, slogging practice in the middle. One doesn’t know whether to pity the bowlers in this competition, or feel happy for them as they are getting exposure to high quality batsmanship, which can only be good for them. Perhaps, Tendulkar should adopt the Gavaskar methodology, who would ask the Indian seamers to overstep while bowling to him in the nets, so that he gets some quality practice.

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