Centurion: Sachin Tendulkar hit 98 off 75 balls on his way to the magic 12,000-run mark as India defeated arch-rivals Pakistan by six wickets in a rousing World Cup match on Saturday.[an error occurred while processing this directive]
The 29-year-old maestro, who suffered severe cramps in the leg while batting, overcame the pain barrier to help India surpass Pakistan's challenging 273 for seven with 26 balls to spare.India ended the league with 20 points to become the second team in Group A behind reigning champions Australia to qualify for the Super Sixes. Pakistan, denied a World Cup win over India for the fourth time in a row, was lagging behind on eight points with a game in hand against Zimbabwe at Bulawayo on Tuesday.
Waqar Younis' men must not only win that match but hope England do not upset Australia at Port Elizabeth on Sunday to force a three-way tie with England and Zimbabwe.In that situation, the team with the highest net run-rate will book the third Super Sixes spot from the group. Tendulkar, who has scored more runs and centuries than any other batsman in the history of One-day cricket, now has 12,015 runs, but narrowly missed a 35th ton.He was removed fending a snorter from the world's fastest bowler Shoaib Akhtar, who extracted revenge after Tendulkar and opening partner Virender Sehwag smashed him out of the attack with 18 runs in his opening over.Tendulkar and Sehwag scored 53 off the first 34 deliveries and by the time he was dismissed in the 28th over, Tendulkar had taken 12 boundaries and a six off the Pakistani attack.
Waqar sent a scare through the Indian camp by removing Sehwag (21) and Saurav Ganguly off successive deliveries in the sixth over. Mohammad Kaif, promoted to number four, denied Waqar a hat-trick and then settled down to make 35 in a third-wicket stand of 102 with Tendulkar.India still needed 97 more when Tendulkar was removed, Rahul Dravid and Yuvraj Singh kept their cool to see their team home without any hiccups. Dravid returned unbeaten on 44, having hit the winning boundary off Waqar, and Yuvraj made 50 not out to seal one of India's best One-day performances in recent times.Some 22,000 fans, many of whom had travelled all the way from India and Pakistan, was at hand to watch the first international between the warring South Asian neighbours since June, 2000.
The victory overshadowed a defiant 101 by Pakistani opener Saeed Anwar who held the innings together after Waqar won the toss and elected to bat on a hot day.Anwar celebrated his 50th match against India by completing 2,000 runs against the old foe and joined Ganguly as the second highest century-maker with a joint tally of 20.Pakistan slipped from 90 for one to 98 for three before Yousuf Youhana joined Anwar to retrieve the situation with a 73-run stand for the fourth wicket.Pakistan was again pegged back to 208 for six in the 42nd over, but Younis Khan (32) and Rashid Latif (29 not out) put on 48 off 41 balls to lift the total past the 250-run mark.
Wasim Akram ended the innings in style with boundaries off the last two balls from Nehra. Pakistan reached the high score despite the unfortunate run out of premier batsman Inzamam-ul-Haq for six.Inzamam had rushed to the middle after the fall of the second wicket determined to get over the lean trot which has seen him make just 10 runs in the tournament.He smashed his first delivery from Anil Kumble straight back over the bowler's head for a boundary, but failed to last the over when Anwar did not respond to his call for a single.A distraught Inzamam trudged back slowly back to the pavilion as the giant scoreboard highlighted the 35th run out in his otherwise brilliant career.