Happy Birthday Sachin Tendulkar: Throwback to when the Master Blaster took down Australia on his 25th anniversary | Crickit
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Happy Birthday Sachin Tendulkar: Throwback to when the Master Blaster took down Australia on his 25th anniversary

Apr 24, 2024 10:03 AM IST

Exactly 26 years ago today, 2 days removed from the 'desert storm' innings, Sachin Tendulkar played another extremely crucial knock.

Indian cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar turns 51 today. Revered as the 'God' of cricket, Tendulkar retired from the sport 11 years ago, yet his influence and legacy continue to flourish. Holding nearly every batting record imaginable, adorned with accolades such as the Khel Ratna and Bharat Ratna, and known affectionately as the Master Blaster, the genius of Tendulkar legend lives on. As we celebrate Sachin's birthday, let's journey back in time to one of his most remarkable innings, played exactly 26 years ago on his 25th birthday.

Sachin Tendulkar goes down the ground. (Reuters)
Sachin Tendulkar goes down the ground. (Reuters)

During the 1998 Coca Cola Cup Trophy, Tendulkar was in supreme form. In what is regarded as one of his best innings, Sachin had hammered 143 against Australia in 131 balls, but the effort was not enough to win the match for his side. The match, which had seen an interruption due to desert storm, is still regarded as one of Tendulkar’s best tons, despite it coming in a losing effort. In the final of the same series, a couple of days later, Tendulkar found the perfect ending to the story.

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On the back of Tendulkar's sensational ton in the historic encounter dubbed as 'the desert storm', India had managed to scrape through the final against Australia. After winning the toss, India captain Mohammad Azharuddin asked Australia to bat first. With a fiery middle-order partnership between Aussie captain Steve Waugh (70 off 71 balls) and Darren Lehmann (70 off 59 balls), Australia posted a total of 272/9 in 50 overs.

On his birthday, Tendulkar came out to open the innings with Sourav Ganguly. He started off brilliantly, keeping one end safe in the middle. In the fourth over of India’s innings, Tendulkar got a bottom edge on the ball from Aussie seamer Michael Kasprowicz. It just missed the stumps and went to fine leg to allow Tendulkar to take a single. Kasprowicz mouthed a few words, and Tendulkar, who did not used to indulge in conversations too much on the field, glared back at the seamer. After a few overs, Tendulkar found his rhythm and put on a show. He went on to hammer 134 runs in 131 balls, with 12 fours and 3 sixes in his innings, helping his side win the match by four wickets, and lift the trophy.

Tendulkar looks back

Tendulkar recalled that he had been extremely tired going into the match, and was exhausted by the Sharjah heat when he came out to bat. "I went out to bat in the evening. Mentally, I was not quite there. I was trying to find my focus. I knew I needed to spend some time on the field and the rhythm will come back to me, and it took about 5-6 overs to get that. Until then, I was not happy about the way I was moving," he had recalled.

"The confidence is all about which part of the bat you are hitting the ball and I was not able to middle the ball. Then I waited for my turn - then I hammered Kasprowicz for two sixes, and from then on things started rolling. We ended up winning that tournament."

In November of 2013, Tendulkar capped off his illustrious career with an astonishing 100 international centuries. Yes, A hundred. Among the plethora of classics he delivered, including his iconic 98 against Pakistan at the 2003 World Cup, his timeless 214 not out in Sydney, and the groundbreaking first-ever double century in ODIs in 2010, the Sharjah innings holds a special place in the hearts of cricket fans.

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