“It’s a rare treat for us…we are not going to see this everyday,” gushed a South African journalist as Sachin Tendulkar and Sanath Jayasuriya inundated St George’s Park with a flurry of boundaries and sixes.
And the huge crowd that had turned up for the same couldn’t have felt any different. The two most loved and respected veterans of the cricket world made South Africa day even more memorable for the locals with a scintillating exhibition of some extraordinary strokes.
Sachin started it all, slicing Ashok Dinda for a six in the second over. Thereafter, it was just mayhem. The six Tendulkar smashed off Ishant from outside the off-stump to the mid-wicket was breathtaking, and the stroke he played off Gayle to the third man region, a sort of scoop, must have left the experts struggling to classify it. Mendis, the mystery spinner, too was sorted out, watching all his flick and finger balls flying almost out of the stadium. By now, Jayasuriya had also joined in the party, and people had an uninterrupted run feast from both the ends.
And then came the strategic break. Tendulkar has been quite vocal in airing his disapproval of the forced break, and his opposition will only grow stronger from here.
The break gave time to the battered and bruised Knight Riders to regroup, and, to their credit, they made the most of it. For the Mumbai Indians, the break disrupted the momentum and they just couldn’t get back the same tempo, stumbling from an intimidating 111 for no loss to an eventual 186.
Once Tendulkar went (68), the Mumbai Indians seemed to lose the plot. The opening onslaught perhaps gave their middle-order the impression that it was easy pickings and all they had to do was go out to the middle and feast. Before they could realise that it was the genius of the two masters that made it look so easy, numerous middle-order batsmen were back in the dressing-room cooling their heals. Anyhow, the massive opening-stand helped the Mumbai Indians reach an impressive total.