The greatest ever batsman to have graced the cricket field, Sachin Tendulkar is celebrating his 47th birthday today. In his illustrious career that lasted over 24 years, he changed the face of Indian cricket completely. The batting maestro owns every possible batting record in both Tests and ODIs.
Tendulkar has played 200 Tests and has scored 15,921 runs with a best of 248* including 51 hundreds and 68 fifties. In 463 ODIs, the master blaster has scored 18,426 runs, which included 49 hundreds and 96 fifties. He is also the only batsman with 100 international tons.
Selecting just 5 from his numerous legendary knocks wasn’t an easy task but we have tried to bring back some great memories of the little master through some of his epic knocks.
5. 98 vs Pakistan, 2003 World Cup
Who said an innings needs to be a century for getting recognized as iconic? Sachin Tendulkar‘s 98 against Pakistan in the 2003 World Cup is the perfect example of courage and fortitude that is required to destroy arguably the most respectable bowling lineup of all time. With bowlers like Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Shoaib Akhtar, and Abdul Razzaq in the side, Pakistan had formidable artillery in their squad. But Tendulkar had other plans.
The knock had some iconic moments with his six off Shoaib Akhtar over third man still etched in the fans’ minds. A minor scare of crams did not prevent him from hammering the opposition to all parts of the ground. The pain kept on increasing, but so did Sachin’s will to take the team all the way. With Sehwag as his runner, he kept India marching towards the target.
4. 241 vs Australia at Sydney
The 2004 Test series in Australia was proving to be a disaster. The Australian bowling attack troubled him and kept getting him out when he went for the cover drive outside off. Sachin before the innings made a promise to himself that he will not play a single drive in his next innings.
The rest is history as he went on to play a marathon knock of 241* in which he struck 33 boundaries but not a single boundary through the covers region. Steve Waugh who was playing his last test match went on to say:
“ He was just too good, we did not have any answer.“
3. 134 vs Australia at Sharjah, 25th Birthday of Sachin
In 1998 Tendulkar was batting like a ‘GOD’ and everyone regarded him the best batsman ever since Sir Don Bradman. Only a couple of days ago he had played his iconic ‘Desert Storm’ innings that took India to the finals of the Coca-Cola Cup. Australia batted first in the final and India had a mountain to climb of 273 runs. Australia knew they were against one man that could win the match on his own.
Sachin, who was celebrating his 25th birthday threw a party at Sharjah of his own. Talk about being destructive he was standing outside his crease and pulling the fast bowlers into the stands. Then came the greatest spinner of that time Shane Warne and in a matter of few minutes, he was also going the distance.
“Sachin Tendulkar, What a player! What a wonderful player!”
No cricket fan would ever forget these iconic lines by Tony Grieg in that match.
His face said it all as he also stood in awe of the genius. Sachin scored yet another century and gave a birthday gift to himself and every Indian. He scored 134 runs at a strike rate of over 100 and India won the final. This innings proved to the world that he was here to make history.
2. 200* vs South Africa 2010
Nobody had scored a double century in ODI innings before this match. Sachin Tendulkar had already passed his prime and was 37 years old. Not few could have imagined that the Master would score the first-ever double century in ODI history. The match was in Gwalior and the opposition that had to pay was South Africa.
He was in the mood from ball one and it looked as if the young Tendulkar was batting that day. Ravi Shastri, from the commentary box, in his unique style said,
“The first man on the planet to reach 200 and it’s the superman of India Sachin Tendulkar.”
1. 143 vs Australia,1998- The Desert Storm
The first of his two famous ‘desert storm’ hundreds, this knock came when India needed it the most. It was India’s last league match in a Tri-series at Sharjah. Australia posted 284/7 in 50 overs, and India needed win or score enough runs to surpass New Zealand’s net run rate (NRR) to qualify for the final.
The Australian bowling attack, consisting of the likes of Shane Warne, Michael Kasprowicz and Damien Fleming were smashed and plundered to all parts of the ground. Tendulkar single-handedly took India close to the target, smashing a top-drawer hundred. Though India lost, Tendulkar’s efforts ensured India bettered New Zealand’s NRR to set up a title clash with Australia. To put things in some perspective, the next highest scorer for India was Dinesh Mongia who scored 35 runs.
This knock is also famously referred to as the ‘Desert Storm’ innings because during the chase, the game had to be halted due to a sand storm. The Australians managed to weather the desert storm, but they had no idea that another storm was about to hit them.
The Sachin Storm just blew the Australians away!