On this day, March 18, Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar unknowingly played his final One Day International (ODI) match, a fitting end to an illustrious and glorious career and that too against Pakistan, in the 2012 Asia Cup in Bangladesh. The swashbuckler on December 23, 2012, announced his retirement from ODI cricket. The 2012 Asia Cup will fondly be remembered despite India not making it to the finals as the Master Blaster created history, by notching his 100th international century, against Bangladesh in the group matches.
Travelling back to March 18, 2012, India vs Pakistan, big names, a line-up from both sides that was revered and pride at stake. Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq won the toss and opted to bat against India in Mirpur. Openers Mohammad Hafeez (105) and Nasir Jamshed (112) hammered the Indian attacking unit, scoring centuries and stitched a 224-run partnership before Ashwin got the first breakthrough, removing Jamshed in the 35th over.
Adding to India’s misery, Younis Khan smashed 52 runs in 34 deliveries before being removed by Praveen Kumar. It was a tough outing for the Indian attacking unit with Praveen being the most expensive bowler for India, registering figures of 2/77. At the end of 50 overs, Pakistan slammed 329/6 on the board, setting a challenging target of 330.
Pride and reputation at stake, it was not the start India wanted as Mohammad Hafeez removed opener Gautam Gambhir for a duck in the second delivery of the chase. The onus was on Tendulkar and Virat Kohli, to handle matters, which the duo indeed did quite well.
The two swashbucklers stitched a 133-run partnership, with Tendulkar scoring a classy 52 runs before being dismissed by Saeed Ajmal. The Master Blaster kept the innings afloat after India lost Gambhir early, played calmly with Kohli and created the base India needed in the chase.
Unknowingly at the time, it was the last ODI match Tendulkar played for India. Kohli took matters into his own hands and notched up a superb century. Kohli along with Rohit Sharma, took India onwards in the chase with the duo stitching a stunning 172-run partnership before Rohit was dismissed for 68.
Kohli then went to smash a scintillating 183, which is to date his highest ODI score, leading India to a 6-wicket win against Pakistan in the Asia Cup. It was a much-needed win for India in the tournament, but the Men in Blue were unable to make it to the finals, which saw Pakistan win the 2012 Asia Cup.
Not realizing, the match against Pakistan, would be the last time millions witnessed Sachin Tendulkar donning the blue jersey for India. The Master Blaster announced his retirement from ODI cricket on December 23, 2012, scoring 18,426 runs, smashing 49 centuries with his highest score being an unbeaten 200.