ICC Cricket World Cup - South Africa 2003






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Also check out other Man of the Match from today: [Canada v West Indies]

Sachin Tendulkar: Simply too good for Namibia

Sachin Tendulkar
Reuters
There are times when Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar makes up his mind to make a big score. If the wicket is good for batting and your bowling line-up is less than penetrative, you had better watch out. This is exactly what happened when Tendulkar walked out to bat against Namibia at the City Oval in Pietermaritzburg.

On a wicket that had just a touch of moisture under the surface, Sehwag torched four boundaries in his customary fashion before being dismissed for a run-a-ball 24, pulling Rudie van Vuuren to Danie Keulder at short midwicket. Ganguly decided this was the time to walk out at number three and spend some quality time out in the middle.

Tendulkar (152) did the team's cause and his average no harm as he led the charge with his 34th one-day century, the first by an Indian this World Cup. Ganguly was not far behind, helping himself to an unbeaten 112.

India, using this relatively easy fixture to warm up for sterner tests ahead against England and Pakistan played to their strengths, working the Namibian bowlers for all the runs they were worth.

There was none of the loose strokes, the ambitious slashes or the confused batting that has plagued Indian cricket in recent times. The batsmen, led by their captain, have maintained all along that it would take only one good performance to reverse fortunes.

When Tendulkar carefully nudged a full delivery to leg to bring up his fourth World Cup century, he also achieved the distinction of notching up one-day hundreds against ten different countries. It was yet another record for Tendulkar that no other batsman could boast.

Until Ganguly reached three figures, that is. He too has centuries against ten countries, only missing out against West Indies of the major teams. Mark Waugh, Herschelle Gibbs and Brian Lara are the three batsmen that come close.

But it was not the records that will warm the heart of coach John Wright. The manner in which India kept the scoreboard ticking over with ones and twos would have heartened him too. Until Ganguly decided the time was right for acceleration, and Tendulkar was well past his hundred, hardly any big hits were attempted. Even then, though, the pair concentrated on hitting in the `V' back down the wicket.

It was not until the 40th over that Tendulkar was dismissed, playing an ungainly across-the-line heave against a ball that kept low from Rudie van Vuuren after making a masterly 152 (151 balls, 18 fours).

This was vintage Tendulkar. India have tougher opposition ahead in England and Pakistan. They too better beware an in-form Tendulkar.



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