It was the 15th match of the 1999 World Cup. India had lost their previous match against Zimbabwe following a close encounter and it seemed difficult for them to make it to the super 6s. India’s star batsman, Sachin Tendulkar had undergone a huge personal loss a week back, the loss of his father. He had been very vocal about his father’s support throughout his career and certainly everyone knew that this was a very very big loss for the little master.
India needed Tendulkar for this match, but his participation in the tournament wasn’t particularly clear. Call it passion, dedication or responsibility to uphold the nation’s expectations from him, he returned three days after his father’s funeral to England to play against Kenya.
India batted first after losing the toss.He came second down at 92-2 with both the openers gone and Rahul Dravid on the other side. He started his innings carefully, carved it out slowly and after each landmark accelerated. It was a combined effort of aggression and defence. He reached his 50 in 54 balls and 100 in 84. Ultimately he finished at 140 at just 105 balls with 3 sixes and 16 fours guiding India to an excellent score of 329/2 with Dravid himself scoring a century-104 off 109 balls(which was completely ignored).
As soon as he reached his century, Tendulkar looked up in the skies, raised his bat in the air and had tears in his eyes. This innings was dedicated to his father. Call it his passion and dedication for the game or his mother’s insistence that he goes and play, Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar was there with his pads on, at the center of the pitch, despite coping with such a big emotional trauma.
It is a perfect example of why Tendulkar is very often termed in India as the ‘God of Cricket’. These little-little things set him apart. Apart from his skills and talent which he showed very well over the years, his attitude and discipline towards the game makes him a true gem that India has given to the game of cricket.
Brief Scores: India 329/2(50)-( Tendulkar 140*, Dravid 104*,Suji 1/26) beat Zimbabwe 235/7(50)-(Tikolo 58,Otieno 56,Mohanty 4/56)
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