On This Day: Sachin Tendulkar unleashed the “desert storm” on the 1998 Australian bowling attack in Sharjah. View

On this day in 1998, legendary Indian batter Sachin Tendulkar played one of the finest One Day International (ODI) innings of all time against Australia in Sharjah, unleashing what is known as the ‘Desert Storm’ for millions, on the deadly Aussie bowling alley attack including Shane Warne, Michael Kasprowicz and Damien Fleming. “Desert storm in Sharjah! On this day in 1998, the world witnessed one of Sachin Tendulkar’s greatest innings as he crushed an unbelievable 143 against Australia,” ICC tweeted.

The match was played as part of the Coca-Cola Cup, a triangular series between India, Australia and New Zealand.

Before this match, India had won just one of their three matches, and New Zealand had won just one of their four matches and were pretty much out of the tournament, clinging to the net run rate as their last hope. Australia had earned a place in the final after winning all three games.

The match was extremely important for India as it could use a win to seal their position as Australia’s opponent in the final.

In the event of a loss, the net run rate could have ruined the Men in Blue’s chances of taking the trophy.

The Australians chose to bat first, throwing an intimidating 284 for 7 in their 50 overs. Aussies didn’t get off to a great start as they lost to Adam Gilchrist for 11 with a score of 17 to Harvinder Singh at average speed.

Future captain Ricky Ponting and Mark Waugh continued the rebuild, with Ponting falling for 31 to Indian spin great Harbhajan Singh in 14 with a score of 84 and Mark Waugh scoring a well-made 81 before falling to Tendulkar with an assist van Ganguly’s hands in the game’s 32nd left with a score of 177 as the fourth wicket.

Michael Bevan, the finisher for Australia, took the innings to the next level, scoring an unbeaten 101 of 9 fours, backed by Darren Lehmann (26), taking Australia to 284 for 7 in 50 overs.

Venkatesh Prasad emerged as the bowlers’ choice for India, with 2/41 in eight overs. Harvinder Singh, Anil Kumble, Harbhajan Singh and Sachin Tendulkar each had one wicket.

India chased 285 and lost to Saurav Ganguly for 17 with a score of 38 in the ninth left of the game. Sachin Tendulkar and wicketkeeper batter Nayan Mongia stabilized the innings before Mongia fell for 35 in the 22nd left of the game when the score was 107. Tendulkar looked good and went after everyone one by one in Australia’s bowling attack. A sandstorm disrupted India’s efforts for about 25 minutes, with the target revised to 276 in 46 overs.

But if the sandstorm had disrupted play, Sachin would have unleashed a storm of its own that threatened to wipe out Australia’s chances during the match.

No one was spared. Michael Kasprowicz was struck for sixes that still live in the minds of millions 24 years later.

The game also marked one of several face-offs the Master had with the late legendary leg spinner Shane Warne, with the batter being Warne’s better on this particular day.

Tendulkar looked unstoppable, with India 242/4 in 42.5 overs, with just 34 required in 19 deliveries and a victory in sight for India.

A miracle followed when pacer Damien Fleming got Tendulkar on the last ball from the over, bringing the deficit to 242/5 in 43. India needed 34 in 18 balls. Tendulkar went back to the pavilion and scored a 131-ball 143, with 9 fours and 5 sixes.

But the rest of the Indian batters, Ajay Jadeja (1), VVS Laxman (23*), Hrishikesh Kanitkar (5*) couldn’t keep up the momentum Tendulkar had given his side, taking only 8 out of the next three overs and finishing at 250. /5 in 46 overs, which meant a 26-point loss.

Tendulkar, immortalized as a deity by millions of his fans, indeed worked mysteriously and had the last laugh that day.

If Australia could take the points list with four straight wins, even India would have a chance to fight the mighty Aussies for the Coca-Cola Trophy as his 143 out of 131 boosted India’s net run rate, giving them an edge over the Kiwis, as New Zealand is known.

An increase in the net run rate gave India a place in the final of the competition.

The final took place on April 24, Tendulkar’s 25th birthday. In the game, Australia made 272/9 in their 50 overs. Another Tendulkar Special followed on his birthday as his 134 of 131 deliveries helped India chase the target in 48.3 overs and get their hands on the Coca-Cola Cup.

This April 22, 1998 “storm” has been immortalized as the “Desert Storm” for millions who turn on their television sets to watch one of the world’s best hitters hit the peak of his ability.

The commentary that followed Sachin’s shots is as immortal as his efforts to this day and still rings through the ears of fans. Innings like this made Tendulkar, a boy from Mumbai, a model of hope.

Millions of television sets turned on when Tendulkar walked out to bat and went out when he was fired before taking India to victory.

Carrying the multibillion-dollar heap on his luggage, the prodigious batter earned the ultimate record for his efforts in 2011, when India won the 50-over Cricket World Cup after 28 overs, beating Sri Lanka in the final.

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