Inzamam-ul-Haq has insisted that the way Sachin Tendulkar played against his side in 2003 WC was superb, and went on to rate it as the best innings of Sachin's career. He added that despite having a good score on the board, the explosive innings of Tendulkar turned the match in India's favour.
When it comes to ‘cricket god’ Sachin Tendulkar, it’s hard to pick one innings from the galore of magnificent innings that he has played over the gigantic span of 24 years at the international circuit, totalling up to unbelievable 100 international centuries. One such memorable innings came in the 2003 World Cup against Pakistan, where despite falling two runs short of his century, he blasted some of the best bowlers of the world all over the ground.
Batting first Pakistan put up a challenging total on the board riding on Saeed Anwar’s amazing century and with the likes of Wasim Akram, Waqar and Shoaib Akhtar in the ranks, the match looked completely in favour of Pakistan. But Sehwag and Tendulkar had different plans as they took the attack straight to Pakistan and set up the match for India. Talking about the same match, Ravichandran Ashwin asked the former Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq about the innings that Tendulkar played.
“I have asked the same question Sachin paaji but I want to ask you now. In the 2003 World Cup game India and Pakistan, Pakistan had posted a huge score. Saeed Anwar scored a century but after that Sehwag and Sachin played well and India won the match. At the halfway mark did you believe that you have enough to win the match or was the score under par?” Ashwin asked on his YouTube show ‘DRS with Ash’ as quoted by Hindustan Times.
Inzamam revealed that Pakistan were confident about winning that game after scoring 273 courtesy a wonderful 101 off 126 balls by opener Anwar and insisted that he had never seen Sachin bat like that in his life.
“Our bowling line-up consisted of Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, and Shoaib Akhtar and the conditions were favouring the fast bowlers. The match was being played at Centurion in South Africa. So we felt that we had put up a pretty good score,” Inzamam said.
“I have seen Sachin play a lot but the way he batted in that match; I have never seen him play like that before. The way he played against our fast bowlers in those conditions was superb. I think he scored 98 before getting out to Shoaib Akhtar. I feel that was Sachin’s best innings. He broke all the pressure. He played a top-quality innings against genuine quality fast bowlers like ours. The way he hit those boundaries, the pressure got released on the batsmen who came after him.”
He further added that Tendulkar too would have a similar opinion about his explosive innings.
“If someone were to ask Sachin, he too would absolutely love that innings of his,” Inzamam said.