Happy Birthday Sachin: Poll - Which of these Tendulkar’s ODI knocks is your favourite?
Sachin Tendulkar played a total of 452 innings in one day internationals, scoring 18426 runs at an average of 44.83. On 49 occasions he crossed the three figure mark, even becoming the first cricketer to score a double century in 50-over cricket. He also scored a bagful of half-centuries, 96 of them to be precise. Over the course of his two decade plus career, Tendulkar left a mark in the world of cricket, that will be hard to match in generations to come.
On the Master Blaster’s 47th birthday, here are Tendulkar’s five best ODI knocks for the fans to relive and a chance to answer the question - which is your favourite ODI knock of Tendulkar?
1) 98 vs Pakistan, ICC World Cup, Centurion, 2003
In 2003 World Cup, a young Indian team under Sourav Ganguly met with arch rivals Pakistan in Centurion. After a Saeed Anwar classic, India were asked to chase down 274 - a daunting task in front of Pakistan’s pace trio of Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Shoaib Akhtar. But Tendulkar that day was in a zone. It all started with that trademark cover drive on the up against Akram in the first over. He followed it up with a six over thirdman off the express pace of Akhtar in the next over, followed by two back-to-back boundaries. Be it the silken touch of the drives, the timing of the flicks or the brutality of the pull, it was a day when the cricketing gods stood and watched Tendulkar bat. Cramps hampered his flow and Tendulkar was eventually dismissed two runs short of a well deserved century. But his knock laid the foundation for another landmark Indian victory over the arch rivals.
2) 143 vs Australia, Coca Cola Cup, Sharjah, 1998
For many Indians, this knock was an epoch defining moment. Tendulkar told an entire country that nothing is impossible. It was the last match of the round robin phase of a tri-nation tournament in Sharjah and India had two targets to chase - to score 284 to win the match, and to score at least 254, to enter the final on the back of a better net run rate than the Kiwis. With wickets falling around him, Tendulkar was India’s lone hope. With India still far from their target the match was interrupted by a sand storm, and both the targets were revised. Tendulkar came out all guns blazing after the storm and launched a ruthless attack on Australia’s bowling. His efforts took India to the final, but he failed to win the match for the team. Two days later though, on his birthday, he scored another century to win India the trophy.
3) 117* vs Australia, CB Series, Sydney, 2008
India under the captaincy of MS Dhoni was looking to step up to the big league in ODIs and for that they needed to conquer the best in the world. The moment arrived when India reached the final of the Commonwealth Bank series in 2008. The ODI series was being played in the backdrop of an ill-tempered Test series which the Indians narrowly lost 1-2. In the first final, India managed to restrict the Aussies to a below par 239/8 and this was a great chance to sneak ahead in the best of three finals. Tendulkar shepherded a young Rohit Sharma on one hand and played some delightful shots on the other. He remained unbeaten on 117 to help his side chase down the target. Tendulkar would go on to score a masterful 91 in the second final as India registered their maiden tri-series win Down Under.
4) 200* vs South Africa, Bilateral, Gwalior, 2010
With the advent of T20I, the ODI cricket had moved on to a new era. With batsmen taking more chances, the likes of Chris Gayle, Virender Sehwag and David Warner were front runners to scale mount 200 in the 50-overs format. But it wasn’t to be. The man who brought about a paradigm shift in limited overs batting was to destined to knock this barrier down as well. Tendulkar, far from his motoring best, became the first batsman in history to register an ODI double hundred against South Africa in Gwalior. Poetic justice many would say but on the day Tendulkar was peerless. He hit 25 boundaries and three sixes and India scored a mammoth 401/3.
5) 163* vs New Zealand, Bilateral, Christchurch, 2009
This knock was another reminder of the fact that the master still had a lot of gas left in the tank. India’s ODI record in New Zealand wasn’t the greatest and this innings set the tone for a series that India managed to win easily. It was India’s maiden triumph in a bilateral ODI series in New Zealand. In this knock, Tendulkar targetted the Kiwi swing bowlers as he hit 16 boundaries and five sixes in his 133-ball knock. A 200 was on the cards but Tendulkar had to retire hurt as Indian score 392 runs.