The capacity crowd supporting the Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede were left in stunned silence as Shane Watson hammered home the points with a 10-wicket win for Rajasthan Royals. The opener made sure that every Mumbai bowler got a piece of the action with his willow. in the IPL-4 match here on Friday.
Sharma, who came to the crease when the home team had slumped to 17 for 2 after 4 overs, slammed five fours and a six in his 47-ball 58-run innings before being dismissed by Australian spin legend Shane Warne, who is playing his swansong match.
Sharma was involved in two fruitful stands - 48 runs with captain Sachin Tendulkar who made an unimpressive 31 in 35 balls and 53 runs in 39 balls for the fourth wicket with Kieron Pollard (20) - that upped the scoring rate.
Shane Watson emerged as the pick of the bowlers for the Royals, who are already out of contention for a berth in the play-offs, with a haul of three for 19.
Left arm spinner Ankit Chavan bowled very well and was not fortunate to gain the wicket of Tendulkar in his four overs. Mumbai's performance was an improvement over their pathetic 94 for 8 at Jaipur in their first leg clash last month which they had lost, but the total was still well below their own expectations.
The home team struggled to get going after opting to bat first. Royals opened with left arm spinner Chavan and Watson and kept the duo on right through the power play overs at the end of which the hosts were a poor 26 for two.
Chavan, in fact, was unlucky as he rapped Tendulkar on the pads twice but on both occasions umpire Paul Reiffel shot down his appeals for leg before. TV replays suggested that the home team skipper was out.
He was rapped on the pad off the first ball he faced from Chavan and then again in the seventh over and was lucky to be given not out on both occasions. The left-arm spinner impressed with the turn he got off the track in his four-over stint for 17 runs without success.
The Sachin-Warne duel failed to produce any fireworks but it was action all around at the Wankhede Stadium as the Mumbai Indians managed to score 133/5 in the IPL-4 match here on Friday.
Earlier, in a capacity crowd at the Wankhede Stadium waiting for the last duel between the legendary Shane Warne and Sachin Tendulkar, the Mumbai Indians skipper Tendulkar won the toss and elected to bat first.
Mumbai Indians ring in one solitary change, with James Franklin featuring at the expense of Aiden Blizzard.
The Royals change as many as five personnel, with the likes of Ross Taylor, Amit Singh and Siddarth Trivedi featuring for the visitors.
Though Mumbai are sitting pretty with 16 points from 12 games, they still need one victory out of their remaining two games to secure their place in the four-team play-offs.
But the Royals, out of running for the next phase with only 11 points ahead of their final game, would be equally eager to stop Mumbai from clinching the berth, which could lead to a no-holds-barred game between the two outfits.
The match would also provide Mumbai an opportunity to avenge their humiliating seven-wicket defeat against Royals in an away encounter in Jaipur last month.
In Jaipur, Mumbai's strong batting line up choked and were restricted to a paltry 94 for eight, which the Royals overhauled losing just three wickets with 11 balls to spare.
With Royals captain Shane Warne being let off with only a hefty fine following his public spat with Rajasthan Cricket Association secretary Sanjay Dixit, the decks have also been cleared for one final riveting battle on the field between the spin legend and batting maestro Tendulkar.