From a grief-stricken family, a duty-bound Sachin Tendulkar returned to the World Cup 1999 and provided a refreshing atmosphere to the India camp on Sunday (May 23). Very few human beings could return to their world of concentration in an amazingly quick time.
Certainly Tendulkar would go down in the history as the greatest sports person India had ever produced. India recorded their first win in three outings in the group "A" league thanks mainly to the inspiration given by Tendulkar. Tendulkar within hours after his arrival in Bristol today emerged with his characteristic blistering style not only to conquer the Kenyan cricketers but also the hearts of millions of cricket watchers.
Tendulkar did not don his usual opener's role today. He chose to enter at the fall of the second wicket at 92. Thereafter it was a grand exhibition of batsmanship till the end of the final over when the score read an imposing 329 for two. Tendulkar (140 not out off 101 balls) and Rahul Dravid (104 not out off 109 balls) performed in contrasting styles to expose the limitations of the Kenyan attack.
Tendulkar was as devastating as ever while Dravid was all grace and class. Precisely, the styles and methods of these two classy batsmen proved too good for the Kenyans.In this World Cup, total score in the range of 250-plus is being considered as a match-winning effort. So India's total, so far the highest in this Cup, would not have caused any worry to Azharuddin and his men.
But then, the absence of the injured Anil Kumble and Venkatesh Prasad was felt for a long spell when Kennady Otieno ( 56 off 82 balls ) and Steve Tikolo ( 58 off 75 balls ) were going great guns putting on 118 runs for the third wicket.
However, Debashish Mohanty who, in the 12th over, took the first two wickets off success balls came back for his second and effected the breakthroughs to bring cheers to the India camp, On this day Mohanty was very costly but then he took wickets too and prevented Kenya from making a match of it.
He finished his quota of overs taking fours wickets for 56 runs. The exit of Tikolo and Otieno in quick succession was telling blow to Kenya's challenge. Anyway full marks for Kenya for putting up a spirited fight . They crossed the 200 mark in the 44th over with still five wickets in hand. A commendable job indeed by a team, which is enjoying only a wooden spoonist's status in this pool.