In his glorious 24-year career, Sachin Tendulkar achieved almost everything that is possible on a cricket field, but his failure to score big at the ICC World Cup finals proves that he is human after all.
Tendulkar won the World Cup, innumerable Man of the Match and Series awards scored the first-ever ODI double ton, made the highest number of centuries, the highest number of runs, and most caps for the country… he did it all but his critics, which are very less in numbers, also keep reminding fans about his failures on big days.
No doubt, Sachin carried the burden of pressure and expectations of Indian cricket fans throughout his career but he also failed on a few days, when the country wanted him to lead from the front with the bat and win it for Team India.
One such day was March 23, 2003, when India played an intimidating Australia in the ICC World Cup Final in Johannesburg. The Sourav Ganguly-led Indian cricket team was on a roll in that World Cup in South Africa, where they reached the final with just one defeat in the tournament.
With more than 600 runs coming from his bat, Sachin also looked really hungry to win the title in his fourth ICC World Cup.
On a batting-friendly pitch in the summit clash, skipper Ganguly took a surprising decision to bowl first. The Australian team hammered the Indian bowlers in all parts of the ground to post a mammoth total of 359 runs on board.
Chasing a huge total of 360 runs for victory, the whole country was banking on Sachin to score big, but he failed miserably in the final, scoring just 4 runs in five deliveries and getting out to Glenn McGrath.
Virender Sehwag, with his fighting 82, tried his best but India eventually lost that final by a huge margin of 125 runs.
Another big day, when Sachin failed to play big innings, was the 2011 World Cup final against neighboring Sri Lanka. It was Sachin’s home ground Wankhede and his sixth and final World Cup as well, so naturally the expectations were very high.
While chasing a total of 275 runs, Tendulkar again failed to deliver at the grandest stage and got out to Lasith Malinga on 18 runs. Gambhir’s 97 and skipper MS Dhoni’s 91 led India to their second World Cup title after 28 long years, fulfilling Sachin’s dream to win the ICC trophy.
Though Dhoni-led India won the T20 World Cup in 2007 before that Indian cricket also saw one of its darkest phases in the same year. India’s horror show and group stage exit in the 50-over World Cup in West Indies in 2007 sparked uproar in the country.
Almost everyone expected the 2003 World Cup finalist India, which was full of superstars to beat a relatively weaker Bangladesh in a Group B match in Port of Spain but the much-famed batting lineup shattered like a pack of cards.
Batting first, India lost wickets at regular wickets and Tendulkar made just 7 off 26 deliveries, with the team bundling out for a scant 191. In reply, the Bangladesh team finished the match with five wickets in hand, causing a major upset in the cricketing world.
Tendulkar, who turns 50 in a couple of days, is fondly called a “God of Cricket” but his failures on these rare days prove that he is also a human after all and not every day is a sunny day. And it’s not like that Sachin always failed at big events.
His numerous Test innings, his historic knock of 91 in the final of the Commonwealth Bank Series against mighty Australia in 2008, and many other knocks show that he also had a fair amount of success in crucial games for India. And who can forget that epic ‘Desert Storm’ knock in Sharjah against Australia in the tri-series, which made Tendulkar ‘immortal
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