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On this Day in 1999: When Sachin Tendulkar scored an 140* against Kenya

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Without him, his side had lost to Zimbabwe in the 1999 World Cup. He had flown back to Mumbai because he had lost his father in the middle of the multi-nation tournament.

Sachin Tendulkar was the man whose brilliance with the willow ‘made the day’ for millions of Indians. They probably thought that here was a man who could fulfill every wish of theirs, and Tendulkar seldom disappointed them.

The hope of millions

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Beyond the numbers, beyond the centuries, there was a sense of hope that Tendulkar provided to the average Indian fan, which most 1990’s kid can easily relate to. Tendulkar was their heart beat and their savior during uncertainties.

And that is why, when Sachin left the side in the middle of the World Cup, and flew back to India, there was a sense of despondency among the Indian fans. But then, within four days, their hero was back to England, to do what he loved doing the most.

After his father’s death, Sachin Tendulkar was seen sporting big black glasses through the rest of the tournament. Probably that was his way of shielding his emotions from his fans.

Walked out Sachin despite the grief

India were facing Kenya in the next game, but it was a different battle that Tendulkar was battling. Not only on the ground, but even mentally. Tendulkar walked in with the score reading 92/2, at the end of the 21st over. The crowd rose to applaud their hero, and needless to say, expected special things from his magical willow.

“Sachin, the modern Kohinoor”, read a placard in the stands.

Sachin Tendulkar drives a ball during the innings against Kenya (Credits: Twitter/ ICC)
Sachin Tendulkar drives a ball during the innings against Kenya (Credits: Twitter/ ICC)

Tendulkar’s first boundary proved why people fell in love with his stroke play. To a ball that was pitched on middle stump, the master lunged forward beautifully, and with just a mere push, sent the ball racing down the ground for a boundary. Their hero was back, and the Indians were rejoicing.

Off the second ball of the 25th over bowled by Odoyo, Tendulkar rocked onto the back foot and played a fierce square cut. The ball ricocheted off the advertising boards.

“That was savage”, exclaimed the commentator on air.

Off the last ball of the 29th over, Sachin Tendulkar brought out the paddle from his repertoire, and ever so delicately helped the ball past fine leg for four. In the next over, Tendulkar danced down the track and hoisted left arm spinner Karim over mid wicket for a gargantuan six. Tendulkar was indeed upping the ante, and the crowd was getting their monies worth.

Sachin Tendulkar during the innings against Kenya during the 1999 World Cup. (Credits: Twitter)
Sachin Tendulkar during the innings against Kenya during the 1999 World Cup. (Credits: Twitter)

Tendulkar reached his fifty with a single to long off. The Indian side was in the drivers seat, with the master leading the charge. After reaching his half century, Tendulkar opened up further. A flat six over mid wicket off Odoyo that sailed into the crowd made his intentions clear, and Kenya were indeed in for a long leather hunt. Off the second ball of the 40th over, Tendulkar’s mastery was in full view for all to see.

A century to be cherished for centuries

To a ball that was pitched on middle stump, Sachin Tendulkar brought his strong wrists into play and split the gap between square leg and deep mid wicket with precision. The master brought up his century with a couple to Long Off, and did something that would become a ritual every time he passed a landmark from then on for the rest of his career.

Sachin Tendulkar sneaks a single during the innings against Kenya in 1999 World Cup. (Credits: Twitter)
Sachin Tendulkar sneaks a single during the innings against Kenya in 1999 World Cup. (Credits: Twitter)

He looked up at the heavens, to thank his father, who had allowed him to pursue his dream.

There was no stopping the great man once he crossed three figure mark. To a ball that was pitched on middle stump, the master gave himself room and punched the ball past deep cover for a boundary. It was a blemish less artist at work.

Off the fourth ball of the penultimate over, Tendulkar brought out the reverse sweep, and executed it to perfection. He was just smashing the ball to every corner of the ground, and the opposition was totally clueless.

The diminutive master finished off the Indian innings in style by flicking the last ball of the innings for six. India finished with a staggering total of 329 runs, for the loss of just two wickets.

Sachin Tendulkar had scored a whirlwind 140*, and was the wrecker in chief, destroying the Kenyan bowling attack with panache.

Surely, Ramesh Tendulkar would have watched from the heavens with a smile on his face.

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