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Sachin Tendulkar recalls the memorable final over in the Hero Cup Final in 1993

Sachin Tendulkar
Sachin Tendulkar. (Photo Source: Hindustan Times)

Former Indian captain and batting great Sachin Tendulkar was arguably the greatest batsmen during his playing days but apart from his batting prowess, Tendulkar was also a useful bowler especially in the limited overs format. He had many variations up his sleeve and had the ability to bowl medium pacers, off breaks and leg breaks. He made a name for himself as a bowler in the 1992 World Cup and was regularly used by the captain in limited overs cricket since then.

The greatest moment for Sachin as a bowler came in the year 1993 when he delivered an exceptional final over against South Africa in the Hero Cup final at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata. With 5 runs needed off the final over, Tendulkar bowled a perfect over and didn’t allow the No.11 batsman Allan Donald to get underneath any of his deliveries. It was a sensational over from the  ‘Little Master” which handed India a historic win.

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Recalling the eventful day in Kolkata, Tendulkar revealed how a mongoose which kept entering the ground during the game proved to be the lucky charm for India. “I don’t know how many of you have noticed this but because it was the first day and night match, there was a mongoose which kept coming in the second half of the match,” Tendulkar was quoted as saying by the Indian Express ahead of the IDBI Federal Life Insurance Kolkata Full Marathon. Tendulkar is the face of the event.

It was a big decision by the then Indian captain Mohammad Azharuddin to hand over the final over to Tendulkar especially when he hadn’t bowled a single over in the match. He failed with the bat too but Azhar wanted to give the ball to someone who had nothing to lose. The gamble paid off big time and Tendulkar still fondly remembers the last four balls where he conceded just a single run. While Allan Donald faced three dot balls, Brian McCullum failed to hit a boundary off the last ball to give India a thrilling victory.

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“When in Kolkata we used to have a joke running around –‘Pehle do wicket lelo, baki ke aath wickets crowd le leta hai’ (first take the first two wickets, the crowd will look after the rest). It was quite memorable and completely different, the first day-and-night match where I ended up bowling the last over.

“The experience to see the entire stadium lit with torches was truly out of this world. They stay with you for the rest of your life,” Tendulkar added. The “Little Master” was also a part of the Indian squad who hosted South Africa for a 3 match ODI series which marked the return of the Proteas in international cricket after being in oblivion for more than 20 years due to the racial apartheid regime.

“We had a spectacular match, Donald had a fiery spell up front but we got a partnership going and ended up winning the game. All in all, the experience was overwhelming not just for South Africa but also for me,” Tendulkar said. He was the joint Player of the Match along with Allan Donald.

Tendulkar concluded by recalling the exceptional ovation both the teams received after landing in the airport. “It was incredible, not just inside the stadium but the moment they landed at the airport. On their way to the hotel, there were people standing and cheering on both sides of the road.

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“I later spoke to (then captain) Clive Rice who was double my age that time and he still fondly recalled that series.”

Here is the video of the thrilling final over 

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