‘Desert Storm’ Pips 2003 World Cup Clash Against Pakistan As Sachin Tendulkar’s Top ODI Knock

A blistering 143 scored against Australia in 1998 was voted Sachin Tendulkar’s greatest one-day innings in an International Cricket Council poll released for his 47th birthday. The 131-ball knock, with nine fours and five sixes, became known as the ‘Desert Storm’ after a sand-storm in Sharjah interrupted India’s chase. Tendulkar took on the likes of Shane Warne, Damien Fleming and Michael Kasprowicz but his side lost.

Tendulkar’s blitz narrowly edged out his match-winning 98 against arch-rivals Pakistan in the 2003 World Cup group match.

“It was neck and neck” until the end, the ICC said in releasing the results of its poll.

Tendulkar, who played 200 Test matches and is now India’s biggest cricket legend in retirement, used his birthday to urge fans to stay indoors during the nationwide coronavirus lockdown.

“They encouraged me and they prayed for me. What did they pray for? That Sachin shouldn’t get out and I should be at the crease,” he told Indian broadcaster Star Sports. “My wish for them is that they should also not get out. They should also stay inside the crease which means that they should stay at home, safe and healthy.”

Meanwhile the Board of Control for Cricket in India relived the master blaster’s unbeaten century against England in the Chennai Test in 2008 in excerpts released on its Twitter feed.

Tendulkar smashed 103 in the second innings to guide India to a six-wicket win. BCCI president Sourav Ganguly, a former India teammate, and other past and present cricketers paid tribute to Tendulkar. Current India skipper Virat Kohli said: “Happy birthday to the man whose passion for the game of cricket has inspired many.”

The right-handed Tendulkar made his debut for India aged just 16 in 1989 and broke almost every batting record before retiring in 2013. The former India captain is the only cricketer to have scored 100 international centuries and is the highest run-scorer with 34,357 runs across formats.

– Agence France-Presse