In-form Sachin Tendulkar hammered a blistering unbeaten half century to lead Mumbai Indians to an easy seven-wicket victory over Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League in Mumbai on Monday .
Captain Tendulkar, who struck a 48-ball unbeaten 71, tore apart the Knight Rider bowling attack with a superb exhibition of strokeplay to notch up his second IPL III half century in front of a packed crowd at the Brabourne Stadium.
He was given good support by opener Shikhar Dhawan (23 in 21 balls) and one-down Saurabh Tiwary, who made a quick-fire 30 in 24 balls with three fours and a six, as Mumbai Indians romped home with nine balls to spare in chase of 156. Earlier, Chris Gayle's stroke-filled 60-ball 75 in his first IPL III appearance powered Kolkata Knight Riders to a competitive 155 for three after the visitors elected to bat.
Tendulkar, who hit 10 fours for his fifth IPL half century, was particularly severe on speedster Ishant Sharma whom he hooked and pulled with disdain for the majority of his boundaries. Tendulkar and Dhawan, playing his first match, put on 61 runs in 6.5 overs to give the MI innings a flying start, and 56 for the second wicket with Tiwary.
Tendulkar, whose previous half-century (63) helped MI to beat Delhi Daredevils in their second tie, later forged an unfinished stand of 27 with Rajagopal Satish (21 not out in 11 balls) for the fourth wicket to take the home team past the finish line in 18.3 overs. With the win today, their third in four matches, Mumbai Indians joined Royal Challengers Bangalore and Deccan Chargers at the IPL III table with six points. Kolkata Knight Riders, on the other hand, slupmed to their third loss on the trot after winning their first two matches in IPL III. PTI