Sachin Tendulkar conjured ‘Desert Storm’ on April 22, 1998 as his knock swept Australia off its feet, establishing him as the best batsman in contemporary cricket.
Sachin Tendulkar slammed 143 runs off 131 balls Australia in Sharjah. (Reuters Photo)
- Sachin Tendulkar established his genius as he conjured ‘Desert Storm’ vs Australia
- Chasing 288 for a victory, Tendulkar hit 143 off 131 balls vs Australia in a 1998 Coca Cola Cup match
- India lost the match by 26 runs despite Tendulkar’s ‘desert storm’ innings
Exactly 22 years ago, on this day India legend Sachin Tendulkar played one of the most memorable innings of his life as he smashed 143 against an attack featuring the likes of Shane Warne, Damien Fleming and Michael Kasprowicz at Sharjah Cricket Association Stadium as temperatures reached a maximum of 41 degrees Celsius.
Though that century in Sharjah against Australia, came in a losing cause, is known as the ‘Desert Storm’ after play was suspended for 25 minutes while a wild sand storm swept through the stadium and reduced India’s victory target from 285 in 50 overs to 277 in 46.
Australia cruised to 287/4 from their 50 overs thanks to a century from Michael Bevan. Those days, a score of anything around 280 to 290 was considered to be almost unattainable while chasing but a 24-year-old Tendulkar was not going down without a fight.
The Master Blaster came all guns blazing and hammered 143 off 131 balls. Sachin had smashed nine boundaries and five sixes that day, completely destroying the likes of Shane Warne, Damien Fleming and Michael Kasprowicz in sweltering conditions.
And also, who could forget the sandstorm that lasted for more than 20 minutes at Sharjah. India’s target was reduced to 277 from 46 overs due to the break but once Tendulkar got out on the last ball of the 43rd over, the rest failed to match up and India lost the match by 26 runs.
DESERT STORM #OnThisDay in 1998, Sachin Tendulkar smashed a 143 off 131 balls against Australia to seal India’s place in the final of the Sharjah Cup!
Do you remember the battle between these legends? pic.twitter.com/6SZVckZWwv
— ICC (@ICC) April 22, 2020
While India fell 26 runs short of victory, Tendulkar’s hand lifted his side beyond the required 237 to edge out New Zealand and qualify for the final two days later.
Speaking to India Today, Tendulkar reflected on the physical toll those two innings took on his body, which makes the tournament among the proudest achievements of his brilliant career.
“Given the conditions in the month of April – the temperatures are really high and you can feel the heat going through your shoes and socks – and the first thing you want to do is to put your feet in the ice bucket,” Tendulkar said.