Happy Birthday Sachin Tendulkar: Master Blaster’s top 5 masterclass innings

Legendary Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar turns 46 today. The master blaster ruled the game of cricket and pretty much broke every possible batting record in a career spanning 24 years. Such was the aura and greatness of Tendulkar that he was popularly known as the God of Cricket.
Tendulkar announced his retirement from cricket in 2013 and he now currently is with IPL franchise Mumbai Indians. On Sachin Tendulkar’s 46th birthday, here’s a look back at his top 10 innings.
India vs Australia, Sharjah 1998
No Sachin Tendulkar story is complete without the mention of ‘The Desert Storm’. Still regarded by many as the greatest ever ODI innings, Sachin Tendulkar’s 143-run innings at Sharjah against Australia in 1998 led India to victory.
Chasing 285 to win and 254 for a spot in the final, India did not begin ideally as their top-order crumbled and it was upto Tendulkar to once again bail India out of trouble. When India were at 143/4 in 31 overs a desert storm caused a stoppage in play but when play resumed it was a different kind by storm that blew away Australia and it came from Tendulkar’s bat.
India had a revised target of 237 in 46 overs to make it to the final and Sachin decided to take the attack to the likes of Shane Warne, Damien Fleming. Tendulkar was dismissed for 143 off 131 balls after ensuring a spot in the final for India. Australia, in the end won the match by 26 runs.
India vs Australia, Sydney, 4th Test
Sachin Tendulkar was under fire. He was criticized for getting out cheaply while playing expansive cover drives in the memorable Border-Gavaskar Trophy in 2003-4. What he did in the 4th Test to rectify that swept everyone off their feet. Sachin did not play a single cover drive till the time he got to his double hundred at Sydney. This Test match was legendary Australian captain Steven Waugh’s last Test, but Sachin Tendulkar stole his thunder by hitting a majestic 241. VVS Laxman too notched up an elegant 178, but it was Sachin’s dominating double ton that stole all the headlines.
Sachin took to the crease when India were down to 128/2 on the first day of the Test, and when the visitors were finally dismissed for 705 on the second day, the little master was still standing at the crease unbeaten on 241. Sachin’s knock was important because it helped India draw the Test and also end the series at 1-1.
India vs Pakistan World Cup 2003
Sachin Tendulkar has played a lot of memorable innings against Pakistan. But what he did against the arch-rivals in the 2003 ODI World Cup, was absolutely mind-boggling. He did not score a century but his 98-run innings against a Pakistan attack comprising Wasim Akram, Shoaib Akhtar and Waqar Younis was etched in everyone’s memory.
Riding on Saeed Anwar’s century, Pakistan gave India a target of 274 runs in the designated 50 overs. But Sachin gave India a flying start to along with Sehwag. He was finally dismissed for 98 by Shoaib Akhtar but his innings ensured India were way ahead of the required rate. After Sachin’s dismissal Dravid and Yuvraj helped India reach home comfortably.
India vs South Africa, 2nd Test, 1996/97
Riding on impressive centuries from Gary Kirsten and Brian Macmillan, South Africa scored 529 run in the first innings. In reply, none of the Indian batsmen could withstand the fierce pace of Allan Donald and Shaun Pollock — barring Sachin Tendulkar and Mohammed Azaharuddin.
The duo slammed their respective centuries but Sachin played a more clam and cautious innings, and made the tail wag a bit to help the visitors cut Proteas’ first innings lead. Sachin scored 169 off 254 balls but he was out there in the middle for 329 minutes.
However, it wasn’t enough as South Africa again scored big runs in the second innings and Indian batting line-up suffered yet another collapse as the hosts won the match by 282 runs.
India vs South Africa, Gwalior 2010
Sachin became the first player in the history of the game to score a double century in ODIs. The Little Master reached the magic figure of 200 in the last over of the innings against South Africa in Gwalior.
In his record-breaking innings, the master blaster scored more than 100 runs from just boundaries (25 fours and 3 sixes).
India went onto notch 401 in their allotted 50 overs and comfortably won the match by 153 runs. It was only fitting that the format’s first double ton was hit by the format’s greatest player ever.
Commentating of this particular innings, Ravi Shastri perfectly summed it up: “First man on the planet to reach 200 … And it’s the superman from India … Take a bow Master…”

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