And Dhawal Kulkarni’s contribution to this victory will certainly not be forgotten in a hurry. The 24-year-old held fort for more than two hours and faced 72 balls for his 16, but what was more important was the drive and courage he showed in the face of some hostile bowling on a pace-bowler’s paradise yesterday morning.
Kulkarni put on an invaluable 50-runs in the company of Tendulkar and claimed it was the legend’s guidance that helped him hang around after being hit on the face by a sharp bouncer.
“It was he who advised me to stay relaxed after I was hit, and it helped,” Kulkarni, who was born on the day Tendulkar made his Ranji Trophy on December 10, 1988, said after Mumbai’s four-wicket win.
Mumbai were some way off the target when the tireless Mohit Sharma, steaming in, hit Kulkarni with a sharp delivery that took off on landing, but the latter recovered well and also hit the winning runs.
He will never like to forget the day as not only did Tendulkar sign off on a winning note, he saw the master do it from the non-striker’s end. “Batting with him is a special feeling and that we have won the game for Mumbai together is a dream come true for me,” Kulkarni said.