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Wednesday, Aug 05th

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Mumbai Indians won their first IPL title on their sixth attempt as they put in a fighting performance with the bat and then bowled with great intensity to get past the Chennai Super Kings in the final at the Eden Gardens. Mumbai recovered after an awful start with the bat to post a competitive 148-9 before reducing the Super Kings to 39/6 and eventually restricting them to 125/9 to secure a 23-run victory.

After 76 games and 54 days, the 2013 Pepsi IPL finally reached it's climax on Sunday evening at the Eden Gardens, with the top two teams of the League stages facing off for the title. Mumbai Indians' skipper Rohit Sharma won the toss and elected to bat first on the important night.

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The Mumbai Indians beat the Rajasthan Royals by 14 runs in an entertaining contest at the Wankhede Stadium that guarantees them a place in the qualifier, relegating the losing side in all likelihood to the eliminator barring a dramatic final group game for either them or the Chennai Super Kings. The match itself had some major momentum swings, with Rajasthan delighted with their efforts with the ball, but having a poor start before launching a terrific come back only to fall short in the end.

Two well balanced sides with an equal number of points collided against each other at the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai on Wednesday evening with one being the formidable Mumbai Indians and the other the sensational Rajasthan Royals. Despite both teams having already confirmed a spot among the top four, it was important for each of them to win to ensure that they went into the Qualifier instead of the Eliminator round in the playoffs.

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The table topping Royal Challengers Bangalore were routed by 58 runs by the Mumbai Indians in a one sided contest at the Wankhede Stadium on Saturday night. Batting first on a flat track, the Indians amassed an imposing 194-7 in their 20 overs, with Dwayne Smith top scoring with 50, and most of the big guns contributing some quick runs. For Bangalore, their big guns failed to fire as Dhawal Kulkarni ran through the top order, while Harbhajan Singh netted the big fish, Chris Gayle, to steer their side to an easy win.

Mumbai skipper Rohit Sharma, standing in once again for Ricky Ponting, won the toss and elected to bat first. Mumbai made one change from their last game against the Kolkata Knight Riders, bringing in pace bowler Dhawal Kulkarni in place of spinner Yuzvendra Chahal. Skipper Rohit Sharma hoped to put up a good total on board and make good use of the conditions at the Wankhede.

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The Delhi Daredevils, registered their first win of the 2013 IPL season as they decimated a Mumbai Indians side that slipped to 3-3 for the season. Batting first, Mumbai posted a very competitive 161-4 from their 20 overs on the back of outstanding half centuries from Rohit Sharma (73 from 43 balls) and Sachin Tendulkar (54 from 47 balls). However, Delhi with a changed opening combination of Virender Sehwag (95* from 57 balls) and Mahela Jaywardene (59 from 43 balls) made mincemeat of the target, cruising to a win with 3 full overs to spare.

Ricky Ponting won the toss and made the easy decision to bat first on a Kotla track that was bound to get slower and lower as the game progressed. Both teams made three changes to their sides with Mumbai bringing in Dwayne Smith, Munaf Patel and Jasprit Bumrah with Mitchell Johnson, Pragyan Ojha and Rishi Dhawan the men to make way. Delhi meanwhile finally gave a game to the South African tweaker Roelof van der Merwe with the injured Jeevan Mendis sitting out, while Andre Russell replaced Morne Morkel. Venugopal Rao also returned from injury to take the place of the struggling for runs Manpreet Juneja.

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Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni became the first Indian wicketkeeper today to score a double hundred in test cricket, and he did so in rather spectacular fashion, making 206 from just 243 balls to take India into a commanding position at the end of Day 3 of the opening test against Australia. Armed with a 135 run first innings lead, with possibly more to follow, India are in a strong position to push home their advantage and go 1-up in this four match series. Earlier in the day, Virat Kohli's 106 laid the foundation for India's massive score of 515-8, but was completely overshadowed by Dhoni's heroics as the skipper took the game by the scruff of the neck, laying his detractors to rest once and for all.

India made good progress on the third morning of the first test against Australia, taking their score past 250 losing just one wicket in the session. Much to the dismay of the large number of fans who had thronged to Chepauk early on Sunday morning, that wicket was of their hero Sachin Tendulkar, who fell for 81, dragging a Nathan Lyon delivery back onto his stumps.

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tendulkar_fanStatistics are the easiest way to value the performance of any sportsperson. And statistically speaking there is no better one-day international cricketer than Sachin Tendulkar. 18,426 runs, 49 ODI centuries, a ridiculous 463 matches over a 24 year career are just the start of his numbers. 62 Man of the Match awards and an average of nearly 57 in World Cup matches give just a glimpse of his genius. When Tendulkar scored runs, India invariably won. Only 14 of his centuries came in defeats. Tendulkar's statistics are so impressive that one can't be forced but to look at them in awe, but they are in the end just numbers.

Sachin Tendulkar was much more than just numbers. He was the reason that generations woke up early in the morning to watch the game. He was the reason schools would go half empty on a matchday. He was the reason that millions of youngsters picked up a cricket bat. He was the reason why two complete strangers one in a faded lungi and the other in designer suit would sit glued to a television set in a dhaba and celebrate together. He was the man whose mere presence at the crease would send a nation of a billion people into a frenzy.

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The Little Master, Sachin Tendulkar, has announced his retirement from ODI cricket. The veteran Indian batsman has not been in good form of late, and his decision to leave comes at the right time for an Indian squad that needs some rebuilding.

Tendulkar announced today, “I have decided to retire from the One Day format of the game. I feel blessed to have fulfilled the dream of being part of a World Cup wining Indian team. The preparatory process to defend the World Cup in 2015 should begin early and in right earnest. I would like to wish the team all the very best for the future. I am eternally grateful to all my well wishers for their unconditional support and love over the years.”

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