On this day in Sharjah, Sachin Tendulkar played one of the finest ODI innings that helped India enter the finals of the Coca Cola Trophy. Although in a losing cause, Sachin’s innings is still regarded as one of the most fierce innings, often referred to as the desert storm.
Back in 1998, India, Australia, and New Zealand were contesting for the Coca Cola Trophy in a tri-nation tournament. The only chance for India to compete against Steve Waugh’s team in the final was by having a better net run-rate than New Zealand. With the stakes as high as they could be, India once again relied on Sachin Tendulkar to sail across the ship.
Batting first, Australia got off to a good start. Mark Waugh notched up 81 runs in 99 balls and set a solid stage for the Australian team to boast on. Michael Bevan did the same and racked up a century. Both of their innings propelled Australia to 284/7 in their stipulated 50 overs.
Chasing 285 runs to win was a tough task for the Indian contingent who were greedy to make it to the finals. To better NZ’s run rate, India needed to score 237 and confirm their slot in the finals. But before ta=hat could unfold, a storm passed through Sharjah which revised India’s target to 276 from 46 overs.
Indian openers Sourav Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar walked upto the crease for India. The duo readied themselves to face a potent Aussie attack. The Australian firepower consisted of legendary bowlers in Shane Warne,, Michael Kasprowicz, Tom Moody, and Damien Fleming.
Sachin Tendulkar started off his innings with a positive mindset that helped the master blaster throughout the innings. THe op-song opener managed to race up nine fours and five sixes during his majestic innings of 143 runs. Sachin ensured that India ‘s confirmed themselves as the second finalist of the tournament. However, the Mumbaikar couldn’t finish things off for India as he was dismissed in the 43rd over.
Then India captain Mohammad Azharuddin recalled Tendulkar’s innings by saying, “That victory will always remain memorable since we won in Sharjah after a long time, almost four years. At one point when the storm came in, our first thoughts were how long would it last! The more time got wasted, the tougher the calculations were becoming… In the end, Sachin was brilliant.”
Tendulkar followed this innings with another century in the final. Sachin’s managed to hit 134 against the same opposition and helped the Indian team emerge victorious in the final.