“Cricket is religion and Sachin Tendulkar is God” is a common saying in India. The one-day international match at Gwalior, India, between India and South Africa today (Feb 24, 2010) just proved why, all over again.
Tendulkar thwacked his way into the books of history with an unbeaten 200 runs a terrific end to the first innings, and India erupted with joy and chants lauding him. And as many of the recent records under MS Dhoni’s captaincy, India too entered the record books for scoring their personal highest in an ODI. They were 401 for 50 overs.
Toward the end, Dhoni added an element of doubt to the inevitability of a Tendulkar’s 200 by denying him strike at the end of three successive overs. Tendulkar’s fans all over the globe were livid. Luckily, Dhoni’s last hit failed to make it to the boundary, thanks to SA’s quick fielder. And Tendulkar finally gets his strike to create history. And that he did.
Gwalior and the rest of the world witnessed a phenomenal double ton they probably will never again. A tired Tendulkar took off his helmet and waved his bat to world in acknowledgement. And the world bowed back to him.
More on Sachin Tendulkar, courtesy Cricinfo:
After 39 years of ODI cricket, Sachin Tendulkar chose arguably the best bowling attack doing the rounds, to eclipse the record for the highest score ever before bringing up the first ever double-hundred in the game’s history. The lucky spectators at the Captain Roop Singh Stadium in Gwalior were privileged by one of the most special knocks from Tendulkar’s blade, as he batted without any of the shackles he has imposed on himself in the latter part of his career. Nothing could deny the master – be it bowlers, fielders or mix-ups. Dinesh Karthik, Yusuf Pathan and MS Dhoni stood by and admired as Tendulkar unfurled all the shots in his repertoire and more, to take India past the 400 mark.
In the 46th over, with a flick for two past short fine-leg, Tendulkar broke the record for the highest ODI score, going past the 194 made by Zimbabwe’s Charles Coventry and Pakistan’s Saeed Anwar, and to say that he acknowledged his feat modestly would be an understatement. He didn’t raise his bat, merely shook hands with Mark Boucher and simply carried on batting amid the din. Coming from a man who is not known to showing too much emotion with the bat in hand, it wasn’t surprising. He reserved his celebrations for the magic figure of 200, which he reached in the final over with a squirt off Charl Langeveldt past backward point. He raised his bat, took off his helmet and looked up at the skies and it was only fitting that one-day cricket’s highest run-getter reached the landmark.
Sachin Tendulkar – Lessening the number of atheists in India since 1989.