Continuing from Part I where we discussed Tendulkar’s best two ODI innings, this one discusses about his next three of the best five ODI innings;
98 – Pakistan – Centurion, 2003 This was a great innings not only because of Tendulkar’s mastery but also because of the context.
The innings came in a crunch game in the World Cup, against arch rival Pakistan and when India were chasing a big score. The Pakistan bowling attack had Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Shoaib Akhtar who was breathing fire. But it did not unnerve Tendulkar at all as he dispatched them with ease. >
His upper cut over point for a six off Akhtar is a moment that will forever be in the minds of cricket lovers. He might have missed out on a hundred but he guided India to a memorable victory and helped them maintain a perfect record against Pakistan in World Cups.
175 – Australia – Hyderabad, 2009 This could probably rank as the greatest ODI innings of all time if Tendulkar had not relied on his team mates to finish the job that he had completed single handedly. The others cocked it up and India finished short of the Australian total. India were chasing a mammoth total but Tendulkar’s innings made it look very small.
His partnership with a Suresh Raina took India very close to the total but a flurry of wickets at the end meant that this outstanding innings was in vain. Nevertheless, it was a great innings under tremendous pressure and would rank among the top ODI innings.
200 – South Africa – Gwalior, 2010 It was not the biggest grounds and it was certainly not one of the best South African attacks but this innings bore testament to Tendulkar’s longevity. He carried his bat right through and though he tired in the end, he had enough in him to break the then world record score of 194 by Saeed Anwar.
He was aided by Mahendra Singh Dhoni in the end, who took on the duties of scoring at a higher rate. It was a great innings by a great player and the record rightfully went to the best player the ODI format has ever seen.