When it comes to the game of cricket, there isn’t a bigger name in the history than Sachin Tendulkar. He holds almost every batting record that exists in the game. From being the highest run-getter to having 100 international centuries, he had the attraction to halt the world and forced it to have a look at him.
But cricket in 2007 witnessed a massive change after the 2007 World T20 when a young side led by MS Dhoni brought the T20 glory home after the experienced players had opted to pull out of the tournament. Post that, the IPL was introduced that raised question marks on the veterans like Tendulkar as to whether they would be able to cope with the shortest format of the game or not.
Not only did the Master Blaster answer all the questions, he proved once more why he is regarded as the best batsman ever to have played the game. He played some magical innings in the league for Mumbai Indians and also bagged the orange cap for being the leading run-getter in the 2010 edition.
The God of cricket might have called it quits from the game a long time ago but the memories that he created are worth visiting a million times. Here are some of the best innings he played in the IPL history:
#5 71* vs Kolkata Knight Riders, 2010
It was the 17th match of the third season at the Brabourne Stadium where KKR batted first and scored 155 runs courtesy 75 runs from Chris Gayle. Tendulkar had Shikhar Dhawan by his side to start the chase.
The master began with a trademark on drive off Ishant Sharma that left the viewers perplexed as always. The favourite bat of his was working fine as even the mildest of touches was flying to the boundary lines. He made a mockery of Ishant as he hit the fast bowler from Delhi for six fours in two overs.
His sheer artistry took him past his 5th IPL fifty in no time. He was relentless on every bowler and the Mumbai crowd was treated to a masterclass. He stayed unbeaten on 71 off just 48 balls with 10 boundaries as MI won the match by seven wickets with nine balls in hand.
#4 72 vs Chennai Super Kings, 2010
The Indians hosted CSK at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai for the 21st match of the third season and the visitors scored a massive 180 in their first innings that consisted of half-centuries from Suresh Raina and S Badrinath.
Chasing a tough target, Tendulkar started off with a crisp boundary through the covers and the crowd knew they were in for something special. He handled the spin duo of Muttiah Muralitharan beautifully and guided the run chase.
When he got out in the 19th over, MI needed just 9 from 10 balls. He made 72 runs off 52 balls that included 8 fours and a six. It was a knock that guaranteed no hiccups despite wickets falling at the other end. Ultimately, MI won the match by 5 wickets with 6 balls remaining.
#3 89 vs Rajasthan Royals, 2010
Jaipur was the venue for the 45th match of the 2010 edition where the visitors MI batted first after losing the toss. Jayasuriya and Rayudu departed inside 2 overs and Tendulkar had to steady the ship. He was focussed on providing stability to the innings that saw wickets falling at regular intervals.
The Mumbai batsman bailed his team out of trouble and held the fort at one end and kept the scoreboard ticking. The best moment of the innings arrived when he smashed his arch rival Shane Warne for 3 fours in an over. As the innings was nearing an end, he opened his hands and went after the bowling.
With an over to go, he went absolutely berserk and slammed Siddarth Trivedi for 20 runs by virtue of 2 sixes and a four. He finished unbeaten on 89 off just 59 balls with 10 fours and 2 sixes and his team reached a commendable 174 that proved to be enough eventually as they won by 37 runs.
#2 68 vs Kolkata Knight Riders, 2009
It was the second season and the 17th match in Port Elizabeth, South Africa where MI won the toss and batted first.Tendulkar began with a flashing six over the third man with an uppercut that brought back the memories of the 2003 World Cup where he did the same to Shoaib Akhtar in that very country.
The pitch had plenty of bounce on offer and he tackled it superbly with skilful cuts and pulls. That day, he was in the mood to hit sixes and one of them was sent packing out of the ground off the bowling of Ajantha Mendis. There was literally no respite for the bowlers as he shared an opening partnership of 127 runs with Jayasuriya.
He was looking to get to his first T20 century but his quickfire knock was cut down in the 13th over. The Mumbai skipper went back after scoring 68 off 45 balls with 6 fours and 2 sixes that propelled the team’s score to 187 at the end of 20 overs. The bowlers backed up his wonderful performance and dismissed KKR for just 95, clinching a win by 92 runs.
#1 100 vs Kochi Tuskers Kerala, 2011
A century in T20 cricket was the only thing eluding the great man who was inching towards 100 international hundreds. He finally achieved the feat in the shortest format of the game as well in the 13th game of the 4th season at his home ground, the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.
Batting first against the Kochi Tuskers Kerala, he looked in ominous touch right from the word go. He didn’t show any mercy on either the pacers or the spinners. The strokes were right out of the textbook and there was no absolutely slogging. After playing a steady hand during the mid overs, he decided to up the ante.
He went all guns blazing and reached near the three figure mark. Needing 5 off the last 2 balls, he hit a boundary and a single to bring up his first and the only hundred in IPL. He finished not out on 100 off 66 balls with 12 fours and 3 sixes that took the total to 182. But it didn’t turn out to be a fairy tale as Kochi chased the total down with an over to go.