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Adjectives are at a dearth when it comes to describing Sachin Tendulkar. Throughout his 23-year-old career, Tendulkar the batsman has been admired, but, yet, one cannot help but admire the humility of the master blaster off the field as well.
The ‘Master Blaster’ who turned 40 on Wednesday, made an appearance in front of the media for a cake cutting ceremony and took the opportunity to thank his fans and well wishers for the unconditional love they have showered on him till date.
“First of all thank you very much to all of you for this gesture. It is really touching. I was just walking to get here and met Anil Kumble along the way who wished me Happy Birthday and said, “Don’t worry Forty is only a number. That is very relieving,” said Tendulkar as he was all smiles addressing the press here in Kolkata.
“I want to take this opportunity to thank all the people of India and all across the world who are well wishers of mine, who have supported me throughout and showered their unconditional love for me over the last 23 years. It has been really special and because of the good wishes and prayers, I am standing here in front of you after 23 years. It has been my strength. I thought this was the best opportunity to come here and thank each and every one of them for every little thing that they have done for me,” added a humble Sachin.
The master blaster also expressed gratitude to the billions of fans who have stood by him like a spine through the ups and downs of his glorious career. “There have been various people who have made various sacrifices for me, have gone on a fast and all those kind of things when I was injured. I just want to say ‘Thank You’ to all, which I believe is not enough. I would have personally liked to meet them and thank them, but it is not possible, so I thought this is the best forum from where I can reach out to most of them and give my thanks.”
Sachin more than obliged to pose for the shutterbugs and cater to the needs of the other media personnel. One of them even asked his wife; Anjali Tendulkar to join Sachin and offer him a piece of cake. “Abhi Muh pe lagane nahi bolna! (Now don’t ask her to put some cake on my face),” chirped Tendulkar as he showed his funny side as well.
Those around just could not walk back without a smile on their face, whatever the circumstance, however small the interaction, with ‘The Legend’.
Match 33 of the Pepsi IPL 2013 will feature defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders taking on the Mumbai Indians.
KKR have steadfastly denied that they are not feeling the pressure of being the defending champions. However with results not going their way, the pressure has started to mount on Gautam Gambhir’s team. KKR have only won two of their six matches and sit at seventh place in the table.
The formidable Mumbai Indians have meanwhile blown hot and cold. In their most recent match against the Delhi Daredevils, they posted 161 runs on the board before their bowling was decimated by Virender Sehwag and Mahela Jayawardene. They sit sixth in the table with three wins and as many defeats and will be keen to make a move up the ladder.
Wednesday, April 24, 2013, 8 p.m
Eden Gardens, Kolkata
The most important batsman in the KKR line-up is their skipper Gautam Gambhir. More often than not, when the southpaw has scored runs his team has gone on to win. It will be interesting to see if KKR can make room for the dangerous Brendon McCullum or if they continue to persist with Yusuf Pathan at the top of the order.
In the Mumbai Indians line-up, all eyes will be on Sachin Tendulkar yet again. The master appeared to be in good touch in the previous match against DD and he will be keen to give his fans something special on his 40th birthday. The talented Rohit Sharma was in sublime touch in the previous match; he and Dinesh Karthik – MI’s top run-getter this season – are the two other important characters in the MI batting line-up.
On the slow and sluggish track at the Eden Gardens, the spin twins – Sunil Narine and Sachithra Senanayake – will be at the forefront of KKR’s bowling plans. Mumbai Indians meanwhile will rely on Lasith Malinga and Mitchell Johnson to do the bulk of the damage with the ball.
The head-to-head record between the Kolkata Knight Riders and Mumbai Indians is lop-sided in favour of the latter. In the ten meetings between the two teams, the Mumbai Indians have emerged on top on eight occasions.
The average first innings total in IPL matches at Kolkata is 146.
Teams chasing have fared better than teams batting first in IPL matches at the Eden Gardens; they’ve won 19 of the 31 matches which have had a definite result.
Kolkata Knight Riders will remain at home and host Kings XI Punjab on April 26. The Mumbai Indians meanwhile head back home to host the Royal Challengers Bangalore on April 27.