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Sachin's 50th birthday: Here are Master Blaster's top 10 innings to recall

His batting style made each ball he played a sight to behold and he played innumerable memorable shots that are etched in the memories of cricket fans

Former cricketer Sachin Tendulkar cuts a cake ahead of his 50th birthday, at an event on the 25 years of his historic 'Desert Storm' innings in Sharjah against Australia, in Mumbai.

Former cricketer Sachin Tendulkar cuts a cake ahead of his 50th birthday, at an event on the 25 years of his historic 'Desert Storm' innings in Sharjah against Australia, in Mumbai.

Mayank Pandey New Delhi
Sachin Tendulkar is considered as the most complete batsman to have played the game. His career spanned 24 years and he faced some of the greatest bowlers of his generation. In his career, Sachin faced some of the most lethal and dangerous bowlers of his era like Wasim Akram, Glen McGranth, Saqlain Mushtaq, Alan Donald, Curtly Ambrose, Shane Warne, Brett Lee, among many others.

Sir Donald Bradman once said that he was most impressed by Tendulkar's technique, compactness, and shot production. He once asked his wife, Jessie, to have a look at Sachin, as he felt that Tendulkar played as he did. To which Jessie agreed that there was a similarity.

His batting style made each ball he played a sight to behold and he played innumerable memorable shots that are etched in the memories of cricket fans. Here we try to revisit some of the most remarkable innings the master-blaster played during his career.

143 & 134 vs Australia, Sharjah, 1998 (ODI)

An innings popularly known as 'Desert Storm' had all the features of what can be called great batting. The Australian attack had Shane Warne, Damien Fleming, and Michale Kasprowicz. Sachin played with remarkable exuberance. He hit nine fours and five sixes to score 143 runs in just 131 deliveries.

However, his knock fell short of the revised target of 276 runs in 46 overs. Nonetheless, Sachin's inning ensured India made it to the final of the tournament ahead of New Zealand. The innings is remembered as 'Desert Storm' because the match was halted due to a sandstorm but was later resumed.

Continuing from his previous game, Sachin hit another century, adding 134 runs to the scoreboard in the final. He hit 12 fours and three sixes. His excellent performance ensured that India chased down the target of 272.

140 vs Kenya, Bristol, 1999 (ODI)

Scoring 140 against a weak opponent like Kenya is not a performance that fans and critics generally talk about. However, Sachin's personal circumstances made this innings memorable. Sachin's father had passed away and he returned to India for the funeral. However, the very next day in the match against Kenya, when a teary-eyed Tendulkar lifted his bat to the sky after scoring the century, the world took notice and applauded his courage and resolve.

98 vs Pakistan, Centurion, 2003 World Cup (ODI)

When India came out to chase 273 against Pakistan, a cautious start to the innings was expected from the duo of Sachin and Virendra Sehwag. However, they had different plans. They smashed the likes of Shoaib Akhtar and Wasim Akram all over the park. The most memorable moment came when Sachin played a lofted square cut over third-man for a six. It went on to become one of the most iconic shots. Sachin played with great finesse and helped India chase down the target easily. He got injured during the match and missed his ton by two runs. During the innings, he also reached the milestone of 12,000 ODI runs.

200* vs South Africa, Gwalior, 2010 (ODI)

In an ODI match against India in 1997, the flamboyant Pakistani opener Saeed Anwar smashed 194 runs, creating a new world record. 12 years later, Charles Coventry of Zimbabwe scored 194 not out against Bangladesh. But the milestone of scoring the first-ever double hundred in ODIs was waiting for Sachin Tendulkar. Finally, in 2010, Tendulkar achieved the unthinkable against South Africa in Gwalior. While several other cricketers, including four Indians, broke the 200-run barrier, it was the God of the game who made everyone believe that the feat was indeed achievable.

241* vs Australia, Sydney 2004 (Test)

Even legends like Tendulkar go through rough patches. During the Border-Gavaskar Trophy of 2002-03, Sachin was struggling with deliveries outside the off stump. He was edging the ball to slips and was not scoring enough runs. Facing heavy criticism and being questioned on his technique, Sachin decided to make a 'minor' change. In the 4th Test of the series being played in Sydney,  Sachin decided against playing any shot on the off side. Sounds unbelievable but the Master Blaster did not play a single cover drive during his entire innings. He went on to score 241 not out. The innings is nothing short of a case study for anyone who wants to learn about controlling natural instincts and focussing on playing according to the situation. That was an innings of defiance and grit.

175 vs Australia, Hyderabad, 2009 (ODI)

What were the rest doing? That was the statement from former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly when India failed to chase 351 against Australia, where Sachin scored 175. He single-handedly took India to the brink of victory. In his amazing effort, he hit 19 fours and four sixes. However, India kept losing wickets at the other end and India lost the match by three runs.

155* vs Australia, Chennai, 1998 (Test)

Facing the Australian team in the late 90s and early 2000s was a nightmare. However, Sachin was the one who gave the world champions a nightmare. In a match where most Indians were struggling, he scored 155 not out and ensured that India would win the match.

194* vs Pakistan, Multan 2004 (Test)

It was both Sehwag's and Sachin's match for different reasons. Sehwag became the first Indian ever to score a triple century in Test cricket, earning him the title of Multan ka Sultan. Sachin was giving him all the support from the other end. However, when he was on 194, stand-in captain Rahul Dravid declared the innings. To this day fans are divided over the decision. Regardless, the innings was outstanding as usual.

Sachin's 100th century (ODI)

Tendulkar had 51 test centuries to his name and 48 in ODIs. Cricket fans around the world awaited Sachin's hundredth century.

Sachin batted until the 44th over to bring about the memorable moment as he played Shakib Al Hasan for a single to become the first batsman in the history of the game to score a century of centuries.

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First Published: Apr 24 2023 | 4:51 PM IST

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