20 Years Later, Master-Blaster's 98 Against Pakistan Remains Legendary
Sachin Tendulkar's 98 sent Pakistan packing in 2003 World Cup showdown (Twitter)
On this day, two decades ago, Sachin Tendulkar played a swashbuckling knock against arch-rivals Pakistan in the 2003 World Cup, an innings was nothing short of a rollercoaster ride. The Master Blaster showed his mastery and put on a show for the ages, leaving the opposition stunned and fans on the edge of their seats.
India won the toss and elected to bowl first, putting Pakistan in the driver's seat with a mammoth total of 273/7. However, Tendulkar had other plans and was determined to take the bull by the horns.
The legendary batter walked out to bat with a fire in his belly, and from the very first over, he made his intentions clear with a punchy boundary off Wasim Akram's third ball. A determined Tendulkar was in his element, and there was no stopping him.
The right-handed genius sliced Shoaib Akhtar for a massive six and then timed him for two more boundaries, making it clear that he was not going to be intimidated by the world's fastest bowler.
Tendulkar's knock was a game of cat and mouse, where he toyed with the bowlers like a cat playing with a mouse. He flicked, drove, cut, and pulled with finesse, leaving the opposition chasing shadows. The way he presented the full face of the bat to just drive the ball past mid-on was poetry in motion.
The Master Blaster's opening partnership with Virender Sehwag was off to a flying start, but like a bolt from the blue, the latter was dismissed by Waqar Younis at 21.
It was a moment of truth for Tendulkar, who now had to shoulder the responsibility and keep the chase alive. He showed nerves of steel and brought up his fifty off just 37 balls.
Tendulkar's innings was a game-changer, where he turned the tables on the opposition and hit them out of the park. He pushed the accelerator button and raced to 73 off 47 balls, leaving the opposition shell-shocked.
The Mumbai-born batter even notched up his 12,000th ODI run in the process, a testament to his longevity and class. Like all good things, Tendulkar's innings had to come to an end, but not before he had played one of the greatest innings of all time.
The Indian veteran was dismissed on 98 by a short delivery off Akhtar, but by then, he had done enough damage to help India chase down the target in 45 overs with 6 wickets in hand. The way he dominated Pakistan's pace trio Akram, Akhtar, and Younis was a sight to behold.
Tendulkar's knock against Pakistan was a feather in his cap, and he was declared the Player of the Match. He had taken the bull by the horns and put on a show that will be remembered for ages. It was a game of inches, where every run counted, and the legendary batter had put his heart and soul into it, leaving no stone unturned.