Desert Storm: When Sachin Tendulkar tore into Australia to establish his genius
The ‘Desert Storm’ in Sharjah is considered as one of the best innings in world cricket and it instantly made a legend out of Sachin Tendulkar. On April 22, 1998, Tendulkar played a brilliant innings of 143 off 131 balls against the likes of Shane Warne, Damien Fleming and Michael Kasprowicz at Sharjah Cricket Association Stadium which cemented his name in cricketing folklore. Although India were defeated in the encounter, the innings is considered by many as Tendulkar’s best in his illustrious career.
The storm that passed through Sharjah paled in comparison to Tendulkar’s batting as he slammed the Aussie bowlers all around the ground and the revised target of 277 (in 46 overs) looked quite comfortable. At 237, India went past the required total to qualify for the final of the tournament.
The nine fours and four sixes adorned the innings and Tendulkar made short work of Shane Warne’s bowling. Warne failed to fox him with his variations and the right-hander was able to read every delivery out of his hand. Although Tendulkar played a brilliant knock, India finished their innings on 250/5.
Tendulkar later spoke about the innings and the physical toll that it took.
“Given the conditions in the month of April — the temperatures are really high and you can feel the heat going through your shoes and socks — and the first thing you want to do is to put your feet in the ice bucket,” he said.
“In my case, that was one experience which I remember how tough it was to stay there and play the best team in the world.
“Australia was No.1 at that stage and to beat them so convincingly was extremely satisfying.”
“Those days we used to play in Sharjah and drive all the way back to Dubai. And the next day was for recovery and the following day was the final. It was not so easy,” he concluded.