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Sachin Tendulkar enthralls fans with half century

Sharjah: Sachin Tendulkar entertained thousands of fans who thronged the Bansi Lal Cricket Stadium in Rohtak to witness his last Ranji Trophy match.

Though the batting maestro failed in the first innings, scoring just five runs against Haryana, in the second innings on Tuesday he cracked an unbeaten 55 to steer Mumbai to within 39 runs of victory with four wickets in hand.

Tendulkar will walk away from his last domestic innings as top scorer in a hard-fought match in which Haryana, after being bowled out for 134 in the first innings, restricted Mumbai to 136 and piled up 241 in their second innings. If not for Tendulkar’s fighting knock, Mumbai would have crashed to a defeat.

Tendulkar played 122 balls in a knock studded with four boundaries. Starting with a glance to the fine-leg boundary off Mohit Sharma, who clean-bowled him in the first innings, Tendulkar also played a cracker of a shot off Ashish Hooda, leaning into a full-length delivery and driving it to the extra cover boundary. The stadium gave him a standing ovation.

The legendary batsman, who will retire from all cricket after his 200th Test match next month, reached his half-century by guiding Joginder Sharma down the leg side with his favourite flick through the vacant square-leg region for two runs. It was his 115th half-century in first class cricket.

Tendulkar’s knock was a cautious one on a wicket that was tough to bat on, with a wicket falling every 35 balls in the first two days.

As wickets kept tumbling, a spectator waved a banner: “Long live the legend. The lone warrior at it again.”

Tendulkar is batting with Dhawal Kulkarni, who was born the day Tendulkar made his Ranji Trophy debut for Mumbai on December 10, 1988.