Twenty years have passed and batting legend Sachin Tendulkar's best ODI knock that helped India enter the finals of the Coca-Cola Cup in Sharjah remains etched in memories of all the fans. Rewind to April 1998, a three-team tri-series in the United Arab Emirates featuring India, Australia and New Zealand participated in the Coca-Cola Cup. Tendulkar was the top-scorer for India in the four of their five matches en route to his tally of 435 runs for the tournament. The Aussies won all their round-robin games to cruise to the finals. Taking to Twitter, India cricketer Mohammad Kaif thanked Tendulkar for giving cricket fans one of the best nights to remember. "20 years have passed since in the middle of a desert storm and a pulsating run-chase, @sachin_rt Paaji gave a generation of people a night they will never forget. One of the best nights for a cricket fan. Thank you Paaji. Whaadaplayaa," he captioned on Twitter.
20 years have passed since in the middle of a desert storm and a pulsating run-chase, @sachin_rt Paaji gave a generation of people a night they will never forget. One of the best nights for a cricket fan. Thank you Paaji. Whaadaplayaa pic.twitter.com/gjCL6WyY91— Mohammad Kaif (@MohammadKaif) April 22, 2018
Riding on a stellar Michael Bevan century, Australia posted a competitive total of 284/7.
Tendulkar responded with a brilliant inning of 143 against a formidable bowling attack including Shane Warne, Damien Fleming and Michael Kasprowicz. To make matters worse, temperatures there had soared to a maximum of 41 degrees Celsius. Tendulkar's innings that day was called the 'Desert Storm' after the play was suspended for around 25 minutes because of a storm that swept through the venue. When play resumed, India's victory target was reduced to 277 in 46 overs.
Tendulkar was eventually dismissed for 143-run knock in 131 balls including 9 fours and 5 sixes.
India fell 26 runs short of victory but Tendulkar's inning lifted India beyond the required 237 edging New Zealand to qualify for the final two days later.
Avenging the defeat in the earlier match, Tendulkar hit a sublime 134 and chased down Australia's 272/9 winning the tournament by six wickets. Incidentally, that day on April 24 was his 25th birthday.