On This Day: Birth of Sachin Tendulkar, the ODI Opener at Auckland
On March 27, 1994, the world discovered a player that would take the game of cricket by storm in the coming decades. This day on 1994, Sachin Tendulkar opened the innings for the first time in his career and the rest as they say is history.Then captain Mohammad Azharuddin asked Tendulkar to open the innings in the absence of Navjot Singh Sidhu, who was out of the game with a stiff neck. Tendulkar was asked to open the innings and it turned out to the turning point in his career.
The Little Master came out all guns blazing and smacked 82 off just 49 balls, hitting 15 fours and two sixes at a strike-rate of 167.35. Riding on his 82, India beat New Zealand by 7 wickets in the 24th over of the game.
Earlier, New Zealand won the toss and elected to bat first and kept losing wickets at regular intervals as the Indian bowlers run through their batting line-up. Barring Chris Harris, who remained not out on 50 off 71 balls, nobody quite got going. Adam Parore (23) and last batsman Chris Pringle (17) were the second and third highest scorers, respectively, as the Blackcaps folded for 142. Rajesh Chauhan grabbed 3 wickets for 43 runs while Kapil Dev, Javagal Srinath and Salil Ankola all grabbed two wickets each.
Coming out to chase 143, India lost Ajay Jadeja with the score on 61 but Tendulkar got off to a flyer and took the game away from the home side completely before falling to Matthew Hart on 82. India lost Vinod Kambli to soon after but Azharuddin and Sanjay Manjrekar made sure India won the game without any further hiccups.
That day marked the birth of Tendulkar, the opener, and since then, he went on to torment teams up the order. Tendulkar opened the innings in 344 matches in ODIs and made made 15,310 runs at an average of 48.29. 45 of his 49 ODI hundreds also came at the top of the order. His average when he is batting further below is 33 and he scored 3,116 runs from 119 matches.
He, along with Sourav Ganguly, formed the most successful opening stands in the history of ODI cricket during the span of 1996 to 2007. The pair opened the innings together 136 times, remaining unbeaten twice, scoring 6,609 runs at an average of 49.32 and a highest of 258. They have recorded 21 century stands and 23 fifty plus stands. The second successful pair is Australia’s Adam Gilchrist and Matthew Hadyen and they have scored 5,372 runs from 114 innings.
Tendulkar’s partnership with Virender Sehwag was also very destructive with the pair opening 93 times and scoring 3,919 runs — which the sixth best opening pair in terms of runs scored in ODIs.