On this day, in 1999, (23 May 1999), Sachin’s emotional 140 runs against Kenya!
Coming to England, Sachin Tendulkar was carrying a back niggle which was evident during his historic knock of 136 against Pakistan in Chennai during the January-February season. If that was hurting him physically, he had unexpected news waiting for him.
India lost their first match against South Africa, thanks to Kallis. Before the team could get ready for the next one against Zimbabwe, Sachin was informed about the demise of his father, Ramesh Tendulkar. He had to leave immediately. It shook him very badly as he was close to his father. It was unexpected as his father recovered every time he fell sick, This left him speechless. Before Sachin could recover from the shock he had to go back and join the team as India lost their second match as well, and this time it was Zimbabwe.
Sachin knew even his father wanted him to do the same. Coming back to the match, Sachin was suffering from his back niggle physically and mentally he was down and out already. He even confessed donning dark eyewear to shield his tears. If that wasn’t enough, India was on the verge of getting knocked out from the tournament. Even on papers, India looked stronger than Kenya, but the pressure can swallow people. So, it was an important match for India.
Ramesh and Ganguly opened the innings for India and added fifty runs on the board for the first wicket. Ganguly made only 13, but Ramesh managed to score 44 runs. Dravid at 3 and Tendulkar at 4 took over from 92 for 2. Sachin won his battle against the emotions when the crowd cheered for their master when he came out to bat.
Sachin started slowly, and he was trying to calm himself on the field. Of course, there were beautiful drives here and there. Building a quiet partnership with Dravid, Sachin slowly started to attack. In the 30th over, he made his intentions clear with a beautiful six over the long-on. In the 35th over, Sachin reached his fifty off 54 balls. He looked at the skies for the first time.
What followed was absolute carnage as in the next 47 deliveries Sachin managed 97 runs. While his drives and paddle sweeps were looking pretty, he looked dismissive at the leg side. Be it short, full, length everything found the fence.
In the 44th over, Sachin from 98, picked up two to reach his 100. He once again looked up the sky, this time emotionally. He knew his father will be watching him from above, he knew his father would have been mad if he didn’t play this way. He played an incredible knock for his father, for his team.
There was a sense of calmness with Sachin, the hurt was visible. Sachin batted as if it was the only way to mourn.
Soon, India managed to put on 329/2 in their fifty overs. With three sixes and 16 fours, Sachin smashed 140* off 101 deliveries.
On the other hand, it was Dravid who completely complimented Sachin by giving him the strike and taking the back step to allow Sachin to dominate. Of course, there were beautifully crafted shots from Dravid as well. He amassed 104* off 109 deliveries.
In return, the half-centuries from Otieno and Tikolo wasn’t enough as Mohanty’s four-fer gave India a massive win by 94 runs. Also, what went completely unnoticed was the fitness of Rahul Dravid who after scoring a ton went on to keep wickets as Nayan Mongia had to go in at the end of nine overs.
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