This was one of the worst phases Indian cricket had gone through. The 2007 ODI World Cup had come with unkind results. A defeat at the hands of a minnow – Bangladesh and an early exit from the tournament had given enough pain for the Indian cricket team and its fans across the world.
After their dismal run in the Caribbean, the Indians were now going on another tough tour of England. Before heading straight to England, India had to face South Africa in the 3 ODIs series in Ireland. India did not begin the series on a good note as they lost the first match by 4 wickets. In the second match though, India revived and it was fittingly the ‘god of Indian cricket’ Sachin Tendulkar who helped India make it happen.
Tendulkar was not coming with the best of form into this series. India were set a target of 226 runs on a tricky Belfast wicket. Tendulkar used the bounce off the pitch very well as he effectively cut and pulled during his innings. He looked in great touch as he smashed Makhaya Ntini for three fours to start off.
Tendulkar was carrying a heavy baggage on his shoulders in that match, which is very usual. He had a match to win and a record to achieve. It was the 18th over of the match when Tendulkar eased some pressure off his shoulders as he took a single on the last ball to become the first man ever to make 15000 runs in ODIs. The master blaster played some exquisite shots afterwards but fell 7 short of his 42nd ODI century. India went on to win the match and later on, the series.