The Wankhede Stadium was once again back to its favourite roar ‘Saachinnn Saachinnn’ as Indian batting legend Sachin Tendulkar stepped onto the field of the iconic stadium seven years after retirement as a player.
The enthusiasm of the almost packed venue remained the same as ever as it was last in 2013 when Tendulkar played his last international game against West Indies.
This time Tendulkar returned as a player of the India Legends team for their opening tie against West Indies Legends in the Road Safety World Series on Saturday evening. It was a comfortable outing for the Indians as they overwhelmed their opponents by seven wickets, chasing down the West Indies total of 150 for eight with 10 balls to spare.
While the stadium roared Tendulkar’s name, it was his opening partner Virender Sehwag who lit the venue with his entertaining and match-winning knock of 74 not out (57 balls, 11×4) taking India to 151/3 in 18.2 overs. Meanwhile, Tendulkar got a quickfire 36 (29 balls, 7×4) before nicking left-arm spinner Suleiman Benn to wicket-keeper Ridley Jacobs
The pair of Tendulkar and Sehwag gave a firing start in their run chase with the latter thrashing pacer Tino Best for back-to-back boundaries in the first over. If Sehwag was devastating, Tendulkar was pleasing to the eyes in his stroke-making. The duo stitched together an 83-run stand for the opening wicket before Tendulkar departed in 11th over.
After Tendulkar’s exit, Mohammad Kaif tried to steady the ship, but WI’s allrounder Carl Hooper put the brakes by getting Kaif and MS Gony on back-to-back deliveries. In came Yuvraj Singh and he brought India back into the game with a huge six off leggie Dinanath Ramnarine before Sehwag finished it style.
Earlier, India legends bowled beautifully to restrict West Indies legend to 150 for eight after the host captain Tendulkar put them into bat after winning the toss. If not for Windies veteran and their saviour Shivnarine Chanderpaul’s 61-run knock off 41 balls, the visitors would have struggled to reach the total.
While Chanderpaul almost played through the innings for his half century before getting out in the 20th over, thanks to Munaf Patel, his partners could not put up a challenge against a disciplined Indian attack.
Opener Darren Ganga was the second highest run-getter after Chanderpaul with a 24-ball 32 which included five boundaries. Other than Chanderpaul and Ganga none of the West Indian batsmen could breach the 20-run mark. Ganga who gave a positive start to the Windies succumbed to a beauty from Khan that casted the latter’s stump.
Lara came in next and he charged Khan immediately with a beautiful boundary over covers followed by a push to the point boundary.
As his eyes were setting in, Lara failed to connect an Irfan Pathan’s slower delivery which saw him get stumped for 17. This came after the south-paw hit the medium-pacer through an eye pleasing cover drive to the fence.
While the Indians kept taking wickets of one end, Chanderpaul, on the other, kept his fight with a stubborn approach and eventually fell in the 19.3 over, but not without helping Windies reach a respectable total.
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