Smith, Sachin share highest IPL opening stand, MI win

sachin TendulkarJaipur: Dwayne Smith and Sachin Tendulkar shared the highest opening stand in the Indian Premier League (IPL) to propel Mumbai Indians to a 10-wicket victory over Rajasthan Royals in the final league match of the T20 tournament here Sunday.

Smith smashed 87 off 58 balls while Tendulkar struck a fluent 58 off 51 as Mumbai overcame the target with 12 balls to spare. Medium pacer Dhawal Kulkarni (3/18) starred with the ball before his side cantered to a morale-boosting win ahead of its knock-out game against Chennai Super Kings in Bangalore Wednesday.

The 163-run partnership between the master blaster and Smith saw 16 fours besides three big ones coming from the bat of the West Indian. The memorable opening stand surpassed the effort of Chennai Super Kings' Murali Vijay and Michael Hussey, who had mad¬e 159 against Royal Challengers Bangalore in the 2011 edition.

While Mumbai had already qualified for the play-offs as the third-placed team, Royals were playing for pride after being eliminated from the competition.

Royals set-up a decent total to end their IPL-V campaign on a high but Tendulkar and Smith came up with a special performance to script Mumbai Indians' victory.

Earlier, Royals blasted 56 off the last five overs to push the score beyond 150.

The in-form opening combination of Ajinkya Rahane (13) and Rahul Dravid (5) fell cheaply, leaving the team at 32 for two in 5.2 overs.

Star all-rounder Shane Watson (45) along with Stuart Binny (30) steadied the innings with a 53-run stand.

Watson was once again at his belligerent best, hitting fours and a couple of sixes in his 36-ball innings.

Binny too was impressive during his cameo. The highlight of his innings was hammering opposition skipper Harbhajan Singh for 22 runs in the 10th over.

Owais Shah chipped in with an unbeaten 28.