As Mumbai Indians' juggernaut rolled through the league phase, they were earning the unwelcome tag of being a one-man side. With Sachin Tendulkar being unstoppable in his excessive mastery, the perception was understandable. The captain himself, though, kept warning about the talent at his disposal and he was proven right last night in a 35-run win over Royal Challengers Bangalore, which takes Mumbai to the final. Tendulkar made his lowest contribution of the season to Mumbai's cause in yesterday's first IPL semi-final, but Ambati Rayudu, Saurabh Tiwary and Kieron Pollard came to the party with the bat to put 184 for five on the board. Rayudu then returned toaffect a brilliant leg-side stumping and hold two catches behind the stumps, while Pollard picked up three wickets for 17 to restrict Bangalore to 149 for nine. "I just wanted to give it my all," said Rayudu in a post-match TV interview. "While batting, we had lost early wickets, so I had to just hold back, especially with the off-spinner [Kevin Pietersen] bowling in the middle overs." The win came at a cost as Tendulkar tore the webbings on his right hand, while taking a low catch off Rahul Dravid at slip, which was turned down by the TV umpires. He needed five stitches to stop the bleeding, but that is unlikely to keep him out of Sunday's final. The start did not go to script for Mumbai. Anil Kumble, a veteran of more than 400 international matches, tried to pique the openers with his attacking field-placement. He had three slips for Shikhar Dhawan and two for Tendulkar. The game plan worked, though it was not the cordon behind the wicket that played a part in Tendulkar's return to the dugout in the second over. The maestro departed after driving Dale Steyn uppishly to Ross Taylor at covers. Dhawan and Abhishek Nayar had survived an edgy, yes-no call just three deliveries later, but refused to clean up their act. They decided on taking a cheeky single afterPietersen had broken the stumps at the striker's end. But Virat Kohliscattered the timber at the other side to leave Dhawan short. Two down for 29 in the fourth over, Mumbai needed one from the remaining pack to repay the faith Tendulkar has shown in them. Rayudu (40) and Tiwary did just that. Together they added 67 runs for the fifth wicket from 49 balls, before Tiwary (52) and Pollard (33) ran amok with 40 runs from the last 2.2 overs. It was the kind of flourish Mumbai needed after having just 107 on the board from 15 overs. Those 77 runs from the last five proved enough to put the target well beyond Bangalore's reach. * Compiled by Ahmed Rizvi with agencies
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