Sachin Tendulkar will undoubtedly go down as the greatest batsman in the history of World Cup cricket. The ‘Master Blaster’ is the only batsman to score more than 2000 runs at cricket's premier event. In 45 matches across 6 editions of the World Cup, Tendulkar scored a whopping 2278 runs at an average of 56.95 including 6 hundreds and 15 fifties.
Be it the emotional hundred that he scored against Kenya at Bristol in the 1999 World Cup just days after losing his father, or his ethereal 98 against Pakistan in the 2003 World Cup where he tamed the likes of Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Shoaib Akhtar, or his age-defying 120 against England in the 2011 World Cup, Tendulkar has played several classic knocks at cricket’s showpiece event.
In this article, let us look at 4 instances where Tendulkar wad denied a century by a spinner in World Cup cricket.
#4 81(91 balls) vs Zimbabwe (2003 World Cup)
Sachin Tendulkar displayed his full repertoire of shots against Zimbabwe in this game. Pristine flicks, delightful pulls and cuts, and gorgeous drives were the highlights of this innings.
And Tendulkar was well set for a hundred. But then, when he was batting on 81, Grant Flower’s left-arm spin proved to be his downfall. The ball pitched on middle stump, turned, bounced a little more than Tendulkar expected, and crashed onto his off stump. And, with that, Tendulkar departed, after scoring a near flawless 81.
#3 83(101 balls) vs Kenya (2003 World Cup)
Sachin Tendulkar was in the form of his life in the 2003 World Cup. And, in the semi-final of that edition, he produced another classic knock against Kenya. The Master’s knock propelled India to a competitive 270/4 and allowed them to record a 91-run victory over Kenya.
Tendulkar once again dismantled the opposition with his dexterity. But then, when he was batting on 83, he pulled a short delivery from Kenya’s skipper Steve Tikolo, straight into the hands of deep mid-wicket, and threw away another well-deserved hundred.
#2 85(115 Balls) vs Pakistan (2011 World Cup)
Sachin Tendulkar was like a cat with many lives in this innings. He first survived a very close LBW shout, then a stumping chance, the Pakistani fielders dropped him twice, but still, the master could not get to his hundred.
And, finally, when he was batting on 85, Saeed Ajmal’s off-spin proved to be his downfall. Tendulkar hit an overpitched delivery straight into the hands of Shahid Afridi at cover and departed for 85.
However, the ‘Master Blaster’s’ knock propelled India to 260 runs. India went on to win the game by 29 runs and made it to the finals of the World Cup.
#1 97(120 Balls) vs Sri Lanka (2003 World Cup)
This will go down as one of Sachin Tendulkar’s greatest World Cup knocks. He was at his majestic best during his 97-run knock against Sri Lanka. Vaas was driven through cover majestically and Fernando was slashed over third man for six. Tendulkar was well on his way to a well-deserved hundred.
But then, once again, Tendulkar fell in the nervous nineties. This time, the part-time spin of Aravinda de Silva did the trick. When he was batting on 97, he went for a paddle sweep, the ball took the leading edge, and fell straight into the hands of Kumar Sangakkara. It was Tendulkar to be blamed, as he played a silly shot, and threw away a hundred.