In a contest between the two Asian giants, India and Pakistan, the hype took center-stage even before the first delivery of the match was bowled. With 659 runs haemorrhaged in 98 overs, the extravaganza had every cricket fanatic on the edge of their seat.
While Pakistan went into the break in the ascendancy, it was a Virat Kohli show in the second innings as he produced mayhem in the opposition camp by taking their bowlers to the cleaners and registering India’s second win in the 2012 Asia Cup by six wickets.
While Sachin Tendulkar played his final ODI on 18th March 2012, Kohli’s knock reassured the Indian cricketing fraternity that there was a new man ready to shoulder the mantle of the Indian batting.
On that note, take a trip down memory lane and look at five intriguing moments from Tendulkar’s last ODI.
#1 Jamshed and Hafeez maul India
The day witnessed records tumble as Nasir Jamshed and Mohammad Hafeez amassed a partnership of 224 runs in 36 overs – Pakistan’s highest opening stand till date in One Day Internationals. While Jamshed racked up the first of his three centuries versus India, Hafeez didn’t make it any easier for the Indian team either with a well-compiled 105 runs.
On a batting belter at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur, all India could do was to wait for the two openers to commit a mistake with the pitch offering no assistance whatsoever. The stand was broken when Jamshed went for a slog-sweep and top-edged it into the hands of Irfan Pathan at short third-man.
#2 Late blitz by Younis Khan
After Jamshed and Hafeez ensured that Pakistan were within touching distance of 300, Younis Khan injected further impetus into the innings with a quick-fire 52 runs from 34 balls.
While the likes of Shahid Afridi struggled to get going, Younis brought all his experience to the fore and helped Pakistan post a daunting target of 330 for the Indian batsmen. To everyone’s surprise, Younis scored at a strike-rate of over 150 and hit six boundaries.
Pakistan had the opportunity to go hell for leather in the closing stages of their innings, but the Indian bowlers pulled things back with some clever changes of pace.
#3 Tendulkar rolls his arm for one last time in ODIs
Amidst the carnage by the Pakistan batsmen, the Indian fans did have something to cheer about when Sachin Tendulkar decided to take a punt with the ball. As a part-timer, he was quite frugal as he shelled out a mere 12 runs in his ten deliveries.
In the process, he almost produced a breakthrough for India as Jamshed chipped a ball back to him, but he spilled the catch. The ball was hit back so fiercely that it injured the Little Master’s hand, after which the physio was called and Sachin subsequently left the field in pain.
#4 Tendulkar and Kohli pull chase back for India
Mohammad Hafeez, after his superlative innings, drew first blood when he got India’s big fish, Gautam Gambhir, in the second ball of the chase. The onus was then on a veteran and a vibrant youngster to steady the ship for the Men in Blue.
Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli resurrected the innings for India with a stand of 133 runs in 19 overs, a partnership in which the Delhi batsman was the chief contributor.
While Tendulkar brought up his 96th half-century in ODIs, Kohli, with his efficacy in run-chases, displayed every bit of his talent in his matured contribution.
#5 The final walk-off for Tendulkar
At the time, it wasn’t considered Tendulkar’s last game as he announced his retirement from One Day Internationals eight months later.
In the previous game against Bangladesh, he piled up his 100th International ton and his last game saw no dip his form as he signed off with yet another half-century. Saeed Ajmal eventually got rid of him with a Doosra that straightened to find the outside edge of the Mumbaikar.
Though he couldn’t carry on after scoring 50, his partnership set the tone for the remaining Indian batters to complete the chase.
#6 Kohli annihilates Pakistan
Despite losing Tendulkar, Virat Kohli continued on his merry way. The Pakistan bowlers disappeared all around the field as Kohli took the chase by the scruff of the neck.
With 22 boundaries and a colossal six over mid-off, the Delhi batsman hardly took his foot off the pedal as he raced to his highest individual score of 183 in ODIs. When he ultimately perished, India required 12 runs from the last 17 balls and they ambled home with 13 balls to spare.