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85 days to go: When Pakistan dropped Sachin and possibly the World Cup

The clash was the 'match of the tournament' for fans on both sides of the border. India wanted to go 5-0 up in World Cup clashes between the two sides while Pakistan wanted to break the jinx.

Published: 06th March 2019 08:38 PM  |   Last Updated: 04th May 2019 05:31 PM   |  A+A-

Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar plays a shot during the ICC Cricket World Cup semi-final match between India and Pakistan at The Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) Stadium in Mohali. (File Photo | AFP)

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He had an lbw decision overturned on 23, was dropped on 27, then again on 45. And then twice more. Having failed to lift the World Cup trophy in five previous attempts, Sachin Tendulkar was due for some luck and he rode it with glee in the semifinal against Pakistan in 2011. 

The clash between the arch-rivals at Mohali was the 'match of the tournament' for fans on both sides of the border. India wanted to go 5-0 up in World Cup clashes between the two sides while Pakistan wanted to pull one back and break the jinx.

What Harbhajan described as 'almost like a final' started with India winning the toss and electing to bat first. Out came the crack opening pair of Virender Sehwag and Tendulkar to take on Pakistan's lethal attack that included Shahid Afridi, Saeed Ajmal and Umar Gul. Speedster Shoaib Akhtar, however, missed out as he was dropped. 

Sehwag gave India a breezy start, scoring a 38 laced with nine boundaries - four of them off Umar Gul's second over. The swashbuckling opener became Wahab Riaz's first victim with India having reached 48 in just 5.5 overs. Sachin forged a 68-run partnership with Gautam Gambhir for the second wicket. But when Virat Kohli and Yuvraj Singh fell off successive deliveries to Wahab Riaz, India were in a tight spot. 

Sachin continued to hold the fort at one end in a knock studded with eleven hits to the fence. The 'little master' played all the strokes in the textbook - the leg glance off Gul, sweep off Ajmal, cover drive off Abdur Razzaq.

Pakistan finally accepted the fifth chance offered by Sachin when Afridi snapped him up at cover off Saeed Ajmal but not before he had made a patient 115-ball 85 on a slow Mohali deck. 

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Pakistan started the chase of 261 slowly and kept losing wickets at regular intervals, with each Indian bowler picking two wickets apiece. They eventually folded for 231 when veteran Misbah ul-Haq holed out for 56, handing India a 29-run win.

The dream of lifting the trophy at home was finally fulfilled as India beat Sri Lanka in the final, winning the coveted trophy after 28 years. It was the perfect send off to Tendulkar who scored two centuries in the tournament and still holds the record for most runs in the World Cup, with a tally of 2278 at an average of 56.95.

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