Sachin Tendulkar
Sachin Tendulkar scored a wonderful unbeaten half-century to lead Mumbai to victory over HaryanaReuters

Act One of the Sachin Tendulkar retirement play could not have been scripted more beautifully - the Little Master staying unbeaten and leading Mumbai to victory in his final Ranji Trophy match.

Amidst frenzied fervour in Lahli, Tendulkar, calculated and controlled, played a real innings of note - 79 not out in 175 balls - to hand Mumbai a four-wicket victory over Haryana.

Needing 40 runs for a victory, after starting on an overnight score of 201 for six, on a tricky pitch with just four wickets in hand, the onus was on Mumbai's greatest cricketing son.

And Tendulkar did not disappoint, wonderfully measuring his knock, while also acting as a calming influence on Dhawal Kulkarni at the other end, with the latter facing all of 72 deliveries for his 16, before scoring the winning runs as Mumbai finished on 240 for six.

"It was a challenging wicket, had a lot for the bowlers, was fun to bat on this," Tendulkar said after the match. "Slow outfield too, so it might be 240 on the paper, but it is 280 anywhere else. This is just the kind of outing I was looking for. It's fun.

"All about talking cricket, getting to know each other. It was all about keeping each other relaxed. The West Indies series will be a good one. Something I will be looking forward to. Hopefully we live up to people's expectations.

"I want to thank the Haryana Cricket Association. I want to thank the security, the police did a great job. Thanks to the people of Lahli. Thank you everyone for making this match memorable for me."

Now it's onto that epic two-match Test series against West Indies at the Eden Gardens and Wankhede - Tendulkar's 199th and 200th - before he walks into a glorious sunset.

If the attention garnered and the quality shown for this Ranji match is anything to go by, then the final two Tests might just be two more of Tendulkar's great ones to add to the countless memorable matches that the big little man has played in over the last 24 years.

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