Former Indian pacer Ashish Nehra dubbed batting legend Sachin Tendulkar’s 85 runs innings against arch-foes Pakistan in the semifinal clash of the 2011 quadrennial event as his scratchiest innings.
The Masterblaster top scored for the India but was dropped four times during the innings – thrice off the bowling off Shahid Afridi and one off Mohammad Hafeez – to go with an LBW which was undone due to DRS.
Relieved twice by the third umpire on 23 and dropped on 27, 45, 70 and 81, the batting legend lived a charmed life. It was a risky innings but one that shaped the core of India’s total of 260 runs.
“Needless to say, even Sachin Tendulkar himself knows how lucky he was in that game. It was one of his scratchiest innings you’ll see. Whenever you’ve seen Tendulkar scoring even 40, you will see bad decisions or catches being dropped. But not that many and luck going your way that much,” Nehra said.
The semi-final match proved to be Nehra’s last ODI for the men in blue in which he scalped 2 wickets giving away 33 run, as India beat Pakistan by 29 runs to book a place in the final. It was the fifth Worl Cup encounter between the two heavyweights and India back then extended their record to 5-0, which now stands at 7-0.
Ashish Nehra stated that given the start India had, they were looking at a total of 350, and even though India fell 90 runs short of it, he believes the team did a good job defending the total of 260.
“See when you talk about a World Cup, whether it’s India-Pakistan, India-England, or any other team, it’s all pressure. You’ve reached the semifinal, you’re a good team but in the end it’s all down to how you handle pressure,” Nehra said.
“The way Virender Sehwag started against Umar Gul (taking him for four fours in an over), at one point of time, we might score 340-350. We ended up 257-58 if I’m not wrong. When we were bowling, Pakistan had a very good start and defending 257 was a great effort by the Indian team. There’s no doubt about it.”