Sachin and Centuries are synonymous. Apart from the 98 vs PAK in 2003 WC, we hardly ever hear about a Sachin's inning which isn't a century. Let's look through 5 of the most underrated innings of the genius.
5. 91 vs ENG in Akai-Singer Champions Trophy, 1997
Sachin walked in at 64/2 chasing 250 at Sharjah. Went on to score a brilliant 91 at a brisk pace which had England questioning its authority on the game even though Indian wickets kept falling on the other end.
At a time when India were 74/4, it was Sachin-Jadeja's fightback which took the game deep in the end, unfortunately losing it by just 7 runs. Matthew Fleming's just one delivery was enough to bring the harakiri of 86 balls to an end.
4. 80 vs AUS in Coca-Cola Cup, 1998
Australia had set a decent 265 target in Sharjah with uniform contribution coming from most of the Aussie batsmen.
Indian team in reply kept losing wickets at regular intervals while Sachin held his end quite fashionably, with a SR above 100. With Damien Fleming & Moody on song with likes of Kasprowicz & Warne to support, Sachin got out only after team had reached a decent 161 on the scoreboard. Scoring almost 40% of the team's run, Sachin saved the team from certain humiliation.
3. 65 vs SL in WC Semi Final, 1996
We generally don't talk about this knock since it has so many bitter memories for the Indian fans. Bottles on the ground, a sobbing Kambli, and the walk to the pavilion. But on the cricketing measures where the Kolkata pitch broke sooner than anticipated, this was one of those knocks which showed his grit and perseverance apart from the usual oozing class. His SR of just 73 (around 30-35 less than his usual those days) showed he was following a game plan after Siddhu's early fall rather than just enjoying being out there which is highly recommended for a stroke player like him. Cruising on 98-1 India looked sure to enter a dream finale at home until that fateful leg-side delivery by Jayasuriya, on which Sachin instinctively tried to steal a single.
2. 100 vs PAK, Singer Cup 1996
Almost a month after the WC Semi-Final exit, Sachin produced an absolute masterclass batting as a man possessed. In this rain-hit match against the likes of Aqib Javed, Waqar & Saqlain, he kept scoring runs at ease when there wasn't any significant support from the other end. Substantial contribution from Manjreker towards the end ensured par runs on the board. Scoring a mind-boggling 44% of the team runs in a total of just 226 he had been consistently setting the bar higher for him each time he went out to bat. India lost that match owing to the revised target. This was his 7th ODI hundred in 108th inning.
1. 77 vs WI, World Series, 1992
This has got to be the best innings that no one talks about. A bowling attack consisting of the likes of Malcolm, Ambrose, Cummins, Patterson, and Carl Hooper was left frustrated when a 19-year-old provided tremendous resistance in the otherwise annihilation. The next best score in India's modest total of 191 was 28 by Kapil Dev. Scoring 40% of the team's runs against legendary bowling attack, a young Sachin had shown early signs of what a game-changer he was going to become in the years to come. And 6 years after his retirement, arent we still in awe?