A member of India’s World Cup-winning side in 2011, Ashish Nehra has labelled Sachin’s 85 in the semis against Pakistan as one of his ‘scratchiest’ knocks and has stated that the Little Master, on that day, was extremely lucky. Nehra further recalled the historic clash between the arch-rivals.
After scoring tons against England and South Africa earlier in the tournament, Sachin Tendulkar struck an invaluable 85 in the semi-final of the high-octane clash versus Pakistan in 2011 World Cup, but it was a knock like no other. Aside from being dropped on four separate occasions - 27, 45, 70 and 81 - the Master Blaster also survived the bowling of Saeed Ajmal thanks to a controversial DRS call. Throughout the match, in fact, it felt like the Pakistan players were adamant to not dismiss Sachin.
A player who got to witness this knock from Sachin first-hand was former Indian pacer Ashish Nehra, who was incidentally the pick of the bowlers for India in the game, as he returned figures of 2/33, and the left-armer, recollecting the 85, described it as one of Sachin’s scratchiest knocks. Nehra claimed that even Sachin knew that he had a ton of luck on his side on that very day.
“Needless to say, even Sachin Tendulkar himself knows how lucky he was in that game. It was one of his scratchiest innings you’ll see. Whenever you’ve seen Tendulkar scoring even 40, you will see bad decisions or catches being dropped. But not that many and luck going your way that much,” Nehra said on the Greatest Rivalry Podcast, reported News18.
Pakistan entered the contest with their confidence sky-high, with them having ended Australia’s unbeaten World Cup run earlier in the tournament, but they succumbed to the brilliance of the Men in Blue. The Men in Green were bowled out for just 231 in their quest to chase down a total of 261 and that was rendered possible by a collective team effort from the Indian side. Nehra revisited the game and stated that India came out on top simply because they handled pressure much better than their Pakistani counterparts.
“See when you talk about a World Cup, whether it’s India-Pakistan, India-England, or any other team, it’s all pressure. You’ve reached the semifinal, you’re a good team but in the end it’s all down to how you handle pressure.
“The way Virender Sehwag started against Umar Gul (taking him for four fours in an over), at one point of time, we might score 340-350. We ended up 257-58 if I’m not wrong. When we were bowling, Pakistan had a very good start and defending 257 was a great effort by the Indian team. There’s no doubt about it.”