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Sachin Tendulkar

Sachin... Sachin... !

268

It had been 4 decades but no batsman had ever conquered the Mammoth individual score of 200 in the limited overs format. Anwar and Coventry had gotten close but had never made it to the summit. Who'd have envisioned that this was gonna be the Day that would be recounted in cricketing folklores being narrated to aspiring youngsters for the coming decades, a story of Delight and delectation echoing across gatherings celebrating and appreciating the Beautiful Game that is Cricket ? It was the 3rd delivery in the final over of the 2nd ODI IND vs SA at the Cpt. Roop Singh Stadium, Gwalior where the Magic Happened... Sachin had got off to a great start as he struck his fifty off just 37 balls and continuing his great rhythm into the later half of his innings. Getting to his 46th ton and 93rd Overall in just 90 deliveries he had already announced that he was craving for more. Scoring 100 runs of just Fours only, this innings had already started to feel like it was building up to something special. As he crossed that 150 mark, the grave sword fitness was once again dangling over the head of this Cricketing Legend... But Alas, He had something extraordinary in the works as he drove on ravaging through that agrregious South African bowling attack. As soon as he struck van der Merwe's last delivery of the 42nd over for a gargantuan Six to get past Kapil Dev's historic 175 , everyone including Sachin knew that this was going to be 'the Day'. He was now dealing only in singles and occasional boundaries cause the pressure was immense as the Indian innings was nearing towards its end. The Little Master was inches away from the silver lining as the world set their eyes on the green turf where God himself stood at the Non striker's end, waiting patiently to appease his worshippers. MS Dhoni a cool customer as he always has been started of the final over of the innings with a monstrous six ...but the Crowd was getting impatient because they were hankering for something else. As a result Dhoni gave into everyones' fleeting looks and took a single.Gosh I had never seen a crowd so relieved after someone took a single only to be succeeded by what happened on the next delivery. So after years of apprehension the iconic juncture was at the periphery of every Cricketing fans' vision... as Sachin Tendulkar stood at the crease as if for the very first time...at 199* facing Charl Langeveldt in the last over of his spell. The excitement of every Indian and Cricket fans across the world was at its Pinnacle. And as the sweet sound of that radiant English Willow Echoed across Millions of Televison screens throughout the Globe Sachin Tendulkar Became the First Man on Earth to reach a Double-Hundred in International ODI cricket. Steered past backward point with grace for a single, the Crowd went berzerk with tears of joy and the Little Master took off his helmet , stared off into the heavens for a moment and waived his bat towards the crowd dancing with amusement in the pavilions, expressing his gratitude for they had stuck with him through thick and thin, worshipping him like a deity that he discernably 'is'. After soaking in all the adulation he got back to the Non Striker's end to continue his Duty. Cricketing Legends and experts across the World were emphatic with praise for this great accolade. Cries of Bravado were reverberating across streets in India. But the Words that have stuck with me the Most come straight from the Commentary Box at Gwalior with Ravi Shastri making the most elated announcement in his iconic baritone : "First man on the planet to reach 200 and it's the Superman from India: Sachin Tendulkar... 200 of 147 deliveries , Take a Bow Master" What a Great Day It Was.

- Milind Maheshwari, 1:28AM, 24 February, 2018

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