Towards the end of the 1990s, former Australian spinner Shane Warne had famously confessed about getting nightmares of Sachin Tendulkar’s batting. While we still aren’t sure what exactly was the trigger behind the confession, Sachin’s blistering knock against Australia in the 1996 World Cup was probably one of the many innings that gave sleepless nights to Warne in years to come.
On this day, February 27, 26 years ago Sachin played one of his many classic innings against the mighty Australian lineup of the 90s and early 2000s. Warne finished the match giving just 28 runs in his 10 overs. Now you may think that’s a pretty good economic rate and why should it have bothered Warne, right? But 10 out of these 28 runs came in Warne’s first over where Sachin took the spinner’s bowling out for a toss
Winning the toss in Mumbai, Aussie captain Mark Taylor opted to bat first with the hope of putting a big total on the board. Opening the batting with Mark Waugh, Taylor took his team off to a good start. The Indian pace lineup looked completely pale in front of the Aussie openers. Skipper Mohammad Azharuddin was forced to loop up to his spin bowlers and Venkatapathy Raju did not disappoint. Dismissing Taylor at 59, Raju gave Australia the first jolt at the score of 103.
While the next batters Ricky Ponting and Steve Waugh were dismissed cheaply, Waugh (Mark) stitched a crucial 69 run partnership with Stuart Law. Holding the Australian innings together Waugh struck his second consecutive hundred in the World Cup and eventually runout by brilliant through by Venkatesh Prasad. Waugh’s dismissal triggered a batting collapse from Australians and from 232 for 4, the team was bowled for 258 in their assigned 50 overs.
The start to the Indian reply was marred with two quick wickets bringing the team score to 7 for 2. All hopes of India’s revival were on Sachin and he did not disappoint.
Taking charge of the run chase, Sachin launched a counter strike on the Australian bowling hitting the likes of Glenn McGrath, Warne and Damien Fleming all around the ground
Stitching crucial partnerships with Azharuddin and later with Sanjay Manjrekar, Sachin first completed his half-century. But the aggression in his batting didn’t come down. The right-hander was o nan absolute rampage but his innings and Indian hopes were cut short with a wide ball stumping. The little master departed after scoring 90 off 84 deliveries.
While Manjrekar and Nayan Mongia gave some hope to the Indian run chase, the effort ultimately proved to be not enough. The Indian team was bowled out for 242 runs in 48 overs and Australia won the match by 16 runs.
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