Tendulkar's finest ODI performances
143 v Australia, Sharjah, 1997-98
India are chasing Australia's 284, but more importantly they need to score 254 to beat New Zealand on net run-rate, and make their way to the final. Single-handedly, Tendulkar takes India close to the cut-off when sandstorms disrupt the play. Just when making it to the final looks difficult, Tendulkar not only takes them beyond that target, but for a brief while even flirts with a win.
134 v Australia, Sharjah, 1997-98
It surely couldn't have got better. It does. Two days later, at the same venue, chasing a similar 273 to win the final, Tendulkar decimates the Australian attack. By the time he is out in the 45th over, he has left India only 25 more to get. Shane Warne is so devastated he confesses Tendulkar hits him for sixes in his nightmares.
141 and 4 for 38 v Australia, Dhaka, 1997-98
Six months after having destroyed Aussie bowlers' psyche, Tendulkar meets them again in big-match environment: the quarter-final of the ICC Champions Trophy. And again, single-handedly, he puts Australia out of the game with his third century against them in three matches. His 141 come in 128 balls, and India are 280 in the 46th over when he gets out. To put the matter beyond doubt, Tendulkar kills an interesting contest by dismissing Steve Waugh, Michael Bevan, and Damien Martyn in his 4 for 38. Tendulkar is clearly dominating Australia like no other single player has ever done before.
98 v Pakistan, Centurion, 2003
Tendulkar has been compelled to live this World Cup match against Pakistan for a year in advance. He has not slept properly for 12 nights going into the match. A target of 274 set for India, bat in hand, Tendulkar shows no anxiety whatsoever. Or is it that nervous energy? He just finishes his hyped battle against Shoaib Akhtar in the latter's first over with an uppercut for six, and then a flick and a straight block for two boundaries. Every bowler is dealt with similar disdain. He has not looked more pumped up before. And although he misses a special century, he leaves the match sealed in the 28th over.
117 not out v Australia, Sydney, 2007-08
Going into the first final of the CB Series, Tendulkar has not achieved many things: an ODI century in Australia, a century in 37 innings, a chase-winning century since 2001, a century in any chase since March 2004. In a 235-minute masterclass, he washes it all away, scoring 117 off 120 balls and leading India to the 240-run target on a difficult wicket just about solo. He dominates in the initial overs, shepherds the tentative middle order, and stays unbeaten to see the side home.
175 v Australia, Hyderabad, 2009-10
Australia have amassed a massive 350 on a flat pitch in Hyderabad, and Tendulkar almost chases it, single-handedly, with no support to speak of. Displays through the innings how he has mastered the art of scoring quick runs without taking any risks. The only support comes from Virender Sehwag (38) and Suresh Raina (59), but they both look like getting out any time. Tendulkar, who scores 175 off 141 balls, gives hardly a chance through the classic. When he does take risk, it's worth preserving those shots in an album: the stepping out to spinners and lofts straight down the ground, and the unbelievably late flicks, even later late cuts. It all ends in heartbreak, though: in Chennai in 1998-99, Tendulkar, having played an innings as incredible as this, left the last three wickets 17 to get; on this night he leaves them 19 off 17. The rest choke like they did in Chennai.