Are you a 90s kid? Then you were lucky enough to have watched Sachin Tendulkar at the peak of his prowess, demolishing the opposite team’s bowling line-up like nobody’s business. Somehow, even as he was destroying their playing records, most bowlers spoke of how they were honoured to bowl against Sachin. The likes of Wasim Akram, Brett Lee, Shane Warner to name a few.
Although every single Sachin inning is worth watching again, but there are some special magical days when the master blaster blew our minds:
5. 175 vs Australia in a losing cause
Many have accused the ‘Master Blaster’ of playing for himself. Often his centuries would go in vain as the team lacked a dependable finisher. His 175 against Australia came while chasing a daunting total of 351. A target like that was still considered rarely achievable back in 2009. Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag got off to a fiery start but after the latter’s wicket fell, India starting losing wickets at regular intervals.
Despite wickets falling from the other end, Tendulkar kept firing from another as if he was playing on a different pitch altogether. He found a partner in Suresh Raina who scored a half-century. At one point the runchase looked like a cakewalk for him and fans like me felt that he would have went on to score a double century if there were enough overs.
Sachin Tendulkar’s 175 vs Australia https://t.co/VI9u7ILlwG
— Faizal Khan (@faizalkhanm9) April 24, 2019
But on the first ball of the 48th over, Tendulkar lost his wicket. Just 19 runs to win from 17 deliveries, with three wickets in hand and Ravindra Jadeja in the middle, India managed to mess up the runchase and lost the match by 3 runs. Irrespective of the result, Tendulkar’s 175 is still one of the best innings in an ODI runchase.
4. An emotional century from Sachin Tendulkar post 26/11 attacks
After the horrific 26/11 Mumbai attacks, Tendulkar did his bit to honour the martyrs and the victims of the attack.
Chasing a target of 387 in Test cricket could not have been easy. India were bundled out for 241 in the first innings at MA Chidambram Stadium by English bowlers. A win looked unlikely in that Test match. Half-centuries from Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir helped the cause. But middle order looked a little wobbly until Tendulkar and Yuvraj Singh stood their ground and shared a match-winning partnership.
Tendulkar finished the match with a boundary and simultaneously reaching his Test hundred.
In the post-match presentation he dedicated the win to Mumbai terror victims. He said:
“What happened in Mumbai was extremely unfortunate and I don’t think by India winning or me scoring a hundred, people who have lost their loved ones will feel any better. It’s a terrible loss for all of them and our hearts are with them, but whatever manner we can contribute to making them feel better we’ll make that effort.”
3. The blazing 98 vs Pakistan in 2003 World Cup
This is the only inning in the list where Tendulkar did not score a century but that does not make it any less significant than others. It’s because of the pressure building up for the India vs Pakistan World Cup 2003 quarter-final clash. Chasing a target of 274, Tendulkar dominated the mighty Pakistani bowling lineup comprising of furious fast bowlers Wasim Akram, Shoaib Akhtar and Waqar Younis.
He even suffered an injury during the match. He got out for 98, but it was the strike rate of 130.66 that ensured the Indian middle order could finish the job without any fuss. He got out when the team needed 97 runs with 134 balls to go and 6 wickets in hand. Also, this is the same innings when Akram stopped and clapped for Tendulkar after being hit for a boundary on his bowl.
2. Teaching the world the art of scoring double hundred vs South Africa
Before this innings, only two players came close awfully close to scoring a double hundred in ODIs – Pakistan’s Saeed Anwar and Zimbabwe’s Charles Coventry. Both the batsmen scored 194. Before this innings, Tendulkar’s highest ODI score was 183. At that time 200 still looked like a far-fetched dream. T20 may have revolutionised batting, but Tendulkar had more conventional ways of scoring despite inventing uppercut, paddle sweep and others.
The visiting South African bowling attack had a few greats in the side. Dale Steyn and Jacques Kallis looked clueless against the wrath of Tendulkar. His batting even crashed ESPNCricinfo servers as they recorded 45 million page views that day. Not one South African bowler escaped the wrath of Master Blaster that day.
Sachin’s 200 vs South Africahttps://t.co/gGb33lvMSg
— Faizal Khan (@faizalkhanm9) April 24, 2019
He completed the double century in 147 balls in last over of the innings. He showed the world that for him nothing was impossible. Since February 24, 2010, 7 ODI centuries have been scored, 4 of which have been scored by Indian batsmen, one by Sehwag and three by ‘Hitman’ Rohit Sharma.
1. Desert storm strikers twice vs Australia
It is tough for any fan to chose between these two centuries as the first one got them into the final, and the second won them the final. He made the Australian bowling lineup look helpless, even though the legendary Shane Warne tried everything but could not get the better of him.
There are probably no words which can describe the onslaught from the cricket’s demigod than ‘desert storm’.