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Sachin’s greatest one-day knocks

Posted by Sports Snob on August 15, 2006


As the master returns to international cricket after a break, I wanted to look back at Sachin’s greatest one-day knocks.

Ranking Sachin’s test innings is arguably an easier task. Considering he has scored 39 centuries and for some portion of the ’90s, was the lone warrior in the Indian team in the one-day game, this is going to be difficult,. And with so many people having watched many of these, people will have their own favorites.

J.H. Fingleton wrote in an article about Vic Trumper but he could very well have been writing for me:

“… A fighting innings of 30 or so under difficult conditions is lost in cold statistics yet its merits may far outweigh many staid (and often unnecessary) centuries that are recorded for all time…What is important is whether a particular contest gives to posterity a challenge that is accepted and won, or yields in classical technique an innings or bowling effort that makes the game richer so that a devotee can say years afterwards, with joy in his voice: ‘I saw that performance’ ..” (How I wish i could write like this!!!)

That is the spirit in which this ranking is done.Where I couldn’t judge on that basis alone, I have fallen back on quality of opposition and importance of the innings in the context of a series/ tournament.

Rank 5: v Aus 90, Mumbai, 1996

It was arguably Sachin’s best tournament. In this match under lights at The Wankhede stadium, Sachin tore into the Australian bowlers and McGrath was taken to the cleaners. He was coming down the wicket and hitting them straight over the bowler’s head. With a rapturous home crowd cheering him on, Sachin played his best innings of the World Cup of 1996. Australia’s Mark Waugh had set the stage with a graceful century and Sachin came out and bested it. Yes, he got out to a rash shot and to an intelligent piece of bowling (stumped off a wide) but then he gave us an innings to remember for a life-time.

Rank 4: v NZ 82, Auckland, 1993/1994

Sachin had started out as a lower middle-order batsman in the one-day game. One fine day during India’s tour to NewZealand, Navjot Sidhu made his biggest contribution to Indian cricket: a stiff neck laid him low and Sachin was asked to open. Then came Sachin at his savage best. 82 off 49 studded with seventeen hits to the boundary:15 fours and 2 sixes. The Kiwis didn’t know where to bowl. And India had found its greatest opener/player in the one-day game.

Rank 3: v Aus 134, Sharjah, 1998

India had struggled through to the finals. Batting second and chasing a target of around 270, Sachin put on a sublime display of batting. He never looked like getting out, never once believing India would lose. He made 134 of the finest runs seen in Sharjah. It was after this tournament that Sachin finally put to rest the argument on the finest batsman ever, to rest- for a long time to come.

Rank 2: v Pak 98 WC, Centurion, 2003

World Cup, Pakistan, emotions running high, 273 runs on the board, Shoaib and his special ball. Special it was. 98 of the most precious runs made for India. The little master showed Shoaib his place. Starting off quietly, Sachin took the attack to the opposition after the dismissal of the explosive Sehwag. Two quick wickets fell but as long as Sachin was there, the game was in the bag. Falling 2 short of a well deserved century, Sachin had again shown the critics: cometh the hour, cometh the man.

Rank 1: v Aus 143, Sharjah, 1998

Desert Storm. India needed to qualify for the finals. Off to a dismal start, India were quickly in trouble. Sachin in the company of Mongia was putting things together when a sand storm hit the stadium. What we saw after that was the best display of one-day batting I’ve ever seen. Bowlers were hit to all parts of the ground. There was a brilliant shot off Tom Moody, straight over his head and Tony Greig’s commentary, for a change indicated that we were watching something truly special. Had he stayed longer, we would have even won the game. The great man at his best.

Honorable mentions : 186 v NZ Hyderabad , v SL s/f WC 1996 (he batted on a placid track while the rest batted on a minefield), 141 v Pak Rawalpindi (2003/04) , 104 v Zim at Benoni (1996), 141 v Aus Dhaka…. and so many more

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– Prof


18 Responses to “Sachin’s greatest one-day knocks”

  1. DS said

    Its a brave man that decides to rank the top 5 Sachin innings….kudos to the effort!

    I vaguely recall one other innings of his. This was played in India during 1998/99. I think Aus had put up a total of around 220 on the board. The pitch was definitely not an easy one to play on. But Sachin came on and tore the bowling to shreds. He hit a lot of sixes and got out after scoring a century. The remaining 20 or so runs that we needed to win took about 10 overs to accomplish. That was another special one from Sachin. Do you recall that one?

    The 95 of 78 balls against Pak and the 44 of 28 in the final against Pak (both at Dhaka) are a couple of significant ones from his collection, IMO

  2. Partha said

    one innings that you seem to have left out was the one against pakistan in the last world cup. that was an awesome innings too. but then like you said, there are too many of those to list…

  3. Partha said

    oops, sorry! you do have that one!

  4. Z said

    @DS: Yes, the prof is a brave man! And I dont remember the innings you are talking about. Will look it up !

  5. Panchos said

    As I was reading this post, it felt like one of those mysteries where I had to read the ending before I read the book, a common irresistible flaw of many avid readers. Thankfully I didn’t succumb to the pressure but nevertheless the top pick was what I had been hoping for. His innings, rightly coined ‘The Desert Storm’ for more than one reason, was truly awe inspiring and will be forever etched in the memories of all Indian cricket fans, if not the world.

  6. Prof said

    @ DS : Thanks. Yeah, the Dhaka knocks. I don’t remember the 95 properly but yes, the knock in the final game I do remember. I think Sachin’s role in the chase has been under-estimated. Yes, ganguly and Singh batted well but Sachin had destroyed the opening bowlers.

    @ Partha: How do you forget that innings… Shoaib put where he belonged- beyond the boundary.

    @ Panchos: The Desert Storm will remain THE DEFINING Sachin innings for me. Start slowly and build the innings. Destroy opposition when fully set… also the entire range of strokes. And oh good that you went from 5 to 1 🙂

  7. Shyam said

    That was an excellent post! Thanks for bringing back old memories – I vaguely remember one innings during the Windies tour maybe in 97/98 – I’m not too sure – Sachin made a quick 43 or 44 on a very fast and green pitch – read somewhere that he rates it highly himself!

    Maybe thats worth a mention too!!

  8. Vishnu said

    Can’t disagree with the top two dude. He’s a bloody magician.

    The first Sharjah century was just genius – I recall my grandad calling me and telling me about how fantastic it was. The sandstorm was like a sign from the Gods – take cover! Another shot I won’t forget in a hurry was when he blasted this yorker from Steve Waugh right back over his head for 4 (Waugh wasn’t fast, mind, but easily one of the most intelligent cricketers to play the game. Although he did HANDLE the ball during that classic series against India in 2001!)

    Cracking read dude.

  9. Ravi said

    ian chappells description of an over

    kasprowicz to tendulkar

    nil nil nil nil bang bang



  10. Prof said

    @ Shyam: Thanks… and the one day series during that tour to WI is quite a blur to me. Maybe if I can get hold of cliipings somewhere

    @ Vishnu: He is just something man! And Waugh’s handling the ball … 🙂 … why remember that incident in a great career

  11. Prof said

    @ Ravi: That Sharjah time left everyone stunned… also remember Greig going hysterical: “the little fella has hit the big man for a six!!” … “Sachin Tendulkar wants to win this match..”

    @ Indignant: The innings against Pakistan was probably a more important one coz it came during the World Cup. But in terms of sheer brilliance… The Desert Storm is Number 1 for me

  12. Z said

    I loved that shot he played off Steve Waugh.And Greig’s commentary when he launched into Kasprowicz and sent the ball onto the roof! Fabulous stuff!

  13. milton said

    Sachin’s 67 off44 at Dhaka against Pakistan in 1998 was a treat to watch. Still I relish the way he pulverized Pak pacers.

  14. Sriwatsan said

    @DS, that innings that you referred to was in the tourney prior to the Coca Cola Cup in Sharjah… He hit some 7 odd sixes in that match. We won all the league games, but lost the final in that series… Those were the days!

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  18. GS said

    Place his 200* somewhere 2 or 3 in that ladder; I would place it at 2.

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