It is arguably the biggest limited overs victory for India. We are tracing back to 2003 when India played Pakistan for the first time after the Kargil war. The relations between the two nations have been on the downslide ever since the war. Even a six-year kid knows that in a contest between India and Pakistan, the significance of a bat and a ball is no less than that of a rifle and a grenade; hence, it was demanding of the Indian cricket team to replicate the same story.
The little master was in ominous form in the series having scored well against England. He was in shape and had found an equally able partner in Virender Sehwag, who was still raw then. Thanks to Saeed Anwar’s century, Pakistan notched up 273 which looked like they had already put a foot in the knockouts; but Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag had different plans. The match was being played at Centurion and Pakistan were loaded with world class fast bowlers in their ranks. But that did not bother the two Indian openers—the smashing Sehwag and master Tendulkar.
Sachin took strike for the first time in the tournament, asking Sehwag to stand at the other end. Soon, in the second over Virender Sehwag started an onslaught which was devastating. He hit Waqar Younis for an epic six over backward point and that set the game up. Sachin Tendulkar too, joined in the party playing classy shots of the ever-so dangerous Wasim Akram and using Shoaib Akhtar’s pace to hit a six in the same region as Sehwag.
The early jitters were gone, India had posted 50 runs in five overs at a breathtaking rate. That was when Waqar struck a lottery with two quick wickets. The Blues had suffered a shocking setback, but it was only momentarily.
The falling of wickets at the other end did not bother Sachin at all. He continued his merry ways—if anything, he stepped it to up to a whole different gear. Kaif was giving him good company at the other end, rotating the strike and taking pressure off the special man.
Tendulkar was finally dismissed off a lethal bouncer from the speedy Akhtar when he top-edged one to point. He was dismissed when the score was 177, and he: for a memorable 98. India won the match—oh, how couldn’t they?—thanks to a solid partnership stitched between Rahul Dravid and Yuvraj Singh.