Tendulkar's blitz floors Pakistan

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Tendulkar's blitz floors Pakistan

The Sourav Ganguly-led Indian side got off to a shaky start in the 2003 World Cup. After an unconvincing victory over Netherlands in their first match, India were trounced by nine wickets by defending champions Australia.

Thereafter, calmness set in as India started to post comprehensive wins. With improved confidence, they set up a mouthwatering clash against arch rivals Pakistan on March 1.

Frenzied fans across the globe awaited an exciting Sachin Tendulkar-Shoaib Akhtar showdown. And to their joy, the contest turned out to be an entertaining affair with the master blaster scripting a swashbuckling innings, reminding the cricketing world about vintage Tendulkar.

After Pakistan opted to bat first, veteran opener Saeed Anwar enthralled the crowd with a classy century. Anwar's ton (101) and a late burst from wicketkeeper Rashid Latif took Pakistan to a competitive 273 for seven.

The Men in Blue began their chase in grand fashion against a strong bowling attack led by skipper Waqar Younis. Virender Sehwag was at his usual attacking best but at the other end, Tendulkar was on his way towards a special innings.

Alarm bells rang in Pakistan's dug out after the thrilling upper cut from Tendulkar off Akhtar landed in the stands. Tendulkar looked unperturbed by the bowling and the target seemed too small for his calibre. With the down the ground drives, flicks towards square-leg boundary and those copybook straight drives, Tendulkar took Centurion by storm.

Tendulkar certainly deserved a hundred but fell for 98 (75 balls). Akhtar finally got his man, but it proved to be a little too late. India went on to win the match by six wickets.

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