On this day in Sharjah, Sachin Tendulkar played one of the finest ODI innings, although in a losing cause, which was enough to ensure India’s passage into the final of a tri-nation tournament in 1998. In fact, he played two back-to-back innings in Sharjah, first in his team’s final league game followed by a match-winning knock in the summit clash itself, both against the mighty Australians. Also Read - It Will be Tougher For Bowlers to Find Their Rhythm After Lockdown: Brett Lee
India, Australia and New Zealand were contesting for the Coca Cola Trophy. India were high on confidence, having beaten Australia in a Test series at home but with a sole win in the tri-series, there only chance of joining Steve Waugh’s team in final was by pipping New Zealand in the net run-rate game. Also Read - Happy Birthday Ravi Shastri: Top-10 Facts You Should Know About The Former India Allrounder
Australia batted first and Michael Bevan scored a century to guide them to 284/7. Also Read - Rahul Dravid is The Toughest Batsman I've Ever Bowled to: Varun Aaron
India needed to score 237 to ensure to punch their ticket for the final. They did just that but not before a storm passed through Sharjah that revised their target to 276 from 46 overs.
The Australian front-line attack comprised Shane Warne, Damien Fleming,Michael Kasprowicz and Tom Moody.
Tendulkar scored 143 against them with nine fours and five sixes and the on-song opener after having ensured final spot, after chasing down the target but his dismissal in the 43rd over ended that hope with India needing 34 still to win.
One of the highlights from his innings was how he dealt with Warne – dancing down the track before the ball had landed on the pitch and sending it soaring outside the boundary.
The then India captain Mohammad Azharuddin recalled Tendulkar’s brilliant innings.
“That victory (in the final) 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! That was because the more time got wasted, the more tough the calculations were becoming… In the end, Sachin was brilliant,” Azharuddin told The Telegraph.
Tendulkar would follow his innings with another century – 134 – in the final and this time he was on the winning side.