In an international career spanning 24 years, Sachin Tendulkar broke pretty much every major batting record. Of his many spectacular innings in a 463-match long ODI career, following are shortlisted eight especially remarkable innings.
143 v Australia, Sharjah, 1998
A knock nicknamed ‘Desert Storm’, it had all the hallmarks of a great innings. Against an attack featuring Shane Warne, Damien Fleming and Michael Kasprowicz, Tendulkar played with remarkable fluency despite the lack of support from the other batsmen. In a knock that was ahead of its time, he struck nine fours and five sixes to score 143 off just 131 balls. His efforts weren’t enough to chase down a revised target of 276 in 46 overs, but it ensured India got into the final of the tournament ahead of New Zealand. The knock gets its nickname from the fact that a sandstorm halted play, but once that subsided, Tendulkar took charge.
140 v Kenya, World Cup, 1999
This knock warrants a place among Tendulkar’s best not only for the quality of it, but also for the poignant circumstances that it came under: only a few days after he lost his father. Tendulkar labelled the period as the ‘most difficult stage of my life’, but was still able to showcase remarkable focus and strokeplay on the field. He hit 16 fours and three sixes, powering India to 329/2, which helped them to a 94-run win to keep their tournament hopes alive.
134 v Australia, Sharjah, 1998
Buoyed by the stunning 143 in the previous game, Tendulkar produced another masterclass in the final two days later. He got going with a couple of stunning cover drives off the Australian fast bowlers and there was no looking back. He hit 12 fours and three sixes in a measured 131-ball knock to help India chase down Australia’s 272/9 with six wickets to spare.
175 v Australia, Hyderabad, 2009
With Australia having set India 351 for victory, Sachin Tendulkar took the task on and single-handedly put his side on the brink of a stunning victory. He smashed 19 fours and four sixes in a 141-ball blitz. Unfortunately for him, majority of the other batsmen had an off day, and India fell three runs short.
98 v Pakistan, World cup, 2003
A Saeed Anwar hundred had led Pakistan’s way to a challenging 273/7, and India would have wanted a strong start. Tendulkar provided them with exactly that, and laid the foundation for a comfortable six-wicket victory with a stroke-filled 75-ball knock, which featured 12 fours and a six – an iconic hit over deep backward point fence off Shoaib Akhtar.
117* v Australia, Sydney, 2008
Against a top-quality Australian attack, featuring the likes of Brett Lee, Mitchell Johnson and Nathan Bracken, in the first final of a best of three series, Tendulkar shaped India’s chase of 240 with a brilliant knock, featuring 10 boundaries off 120 deliveries.
200 v South Africa, Gwalior, 2010
Twenty-one years after making his debut, Tendulkar was not only maintaining the exceptionally high levels he set himself, but was also breaking new ground. His constant endeavour to keep getting better was epitomised by his 147-ball, unbeaten double century against South Africa, becoming the first man to reach the milestone in ODI cricket. His knock helped India to a total of 401/3 and a 153-run defeat of South Africa.
82 v New Zealand, Auckland, 1994
This was the first time Tendulkar was promoted to open the innings, and he proved his calibre straight away, hammering the New Zealand attack to all parts in an aggressive display. With just 143 to chase, he blasted 15 fours and two sixes from his 49-ball stay to help India over the line with 26.4 overs and seven wickets to spare.