Sachin–Shoaib cricket rivalry
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What made it so dramatic was that neither held a decisive edge. Tendulkar did not always flay Akhtar’s 100 mph bullets, but nor could the Pakistani pacer keep the Master Blaster’s blade restrained on every occasion. It was a fight fitting of arguably the two most advanced professors in their respective arts at the time.
 In 2002, just halfway through his career, Wisden Cricketers' Almanack ranked him the second greatest Test batsman of all time, behind Don Bradman, and the second greatest ODI batsman of all time, behind Viv Richards. Later in his career, Tendulkar was a part of the Indian team that won the 2011 World Cup, his first win in six World Cup appearances for India. He had previously been named "Player of the Tournament" at the 2003 edition of the tournament, held in South Africa. In 2013, he was the only Indian cricketer included in an all-time Test World XI named to mark the 150th anniversary of Wisden Cricketers' Almanack. 
It was the first time that Tendulkar and Akhtar had faced each other since the latter uprooted the former’s middle stump at the Asian Test Championship months earlier. In front of a strong sub-continent crowd in the English city of Manchester, the pair created some World Cup magic.
Perhaps nervy, Tendulkar played the Rawalpindi Express with some caution and appeared a bit uneasy than he did against the more revered Wasim Akram who was bowling from the other end. Edges and hurdles were the most common currency from Tendulkar’s bat, and it took until the sixth over before he unleashed the shackles with a gung-ho boundary through mid-on.
Not much else happened between Tendulkar and Akhtar that day – Akhtar didn’t get him out, and Tendulkar scored nine from the 13 balls he faced against him. However, it summed up their ODI rivalry quite well: it was even.
Unlike he did with so many, Tendulkar was never able to manhandle Akhtar, at least not on a regular basis. The rapid pace often left him tentative, and often beaten. But he had his great days too, where he would come out and thrash the ball remorselessly – and it was that evenness which made their rivalry so great.
As ever, cricketing tensions were high ahead of India’s tour to Pakistan in 2004, and Tendulkar and Akhtar were soon engaged in a conflict as the first ODI of the series got underway in Karachi. The Little Master was partnering Virender Sehwag at the top, and Shoaib was hurtling in at the pair of them from ball one.
Tendulkar looked to suffocate the pace early, clipping a ball sweetly off his legs and to the boundary for his first scoring shot of the day. Akhtar’s anger would have been enraged even further when Shoaib Malik dropped Sehwag soon after, but he only had himself to blame when Tendulkar was given a reprieve after being caught at leg because of a no ball.
A top-edge from Tendulkar went flying for six thanks to Shoaib’s speed, and four more were chalked up with a typically gorgeous punch down the ground. Akhtar had the last laugh, though. On the penultimate ball of the ninth over, Tendulkar drove through the covers for four, but an attempt of a slightly squarer shot off the following delivery was edged and caught by Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, ending the Indian right-hander’s breezy innings of 28.
The two collided again in the second ODI with unfinished business. This time, India had been set a target of 330 under the floodlights, and the outcome of Sachin and Shoaib’s shenanigans was likely going to be pivotal. If India had any hopes of prevailing, they needed their star to lead from the front, and it was Akhtar’s job to knock him over.
But Tendulkar was better prepared in Rawalpindi. As Sehwag looked to create carnage early, his teammate set about building a base. An attempt of a booming drive missed the edge, but that was one of the only mistakes Tendulkar made all evening. He lifted Shoaib over backward point for a boundary and then flicked one square for the same result.
While Pakistan made inroads, Tendulkar stood firm and helped himself to four more off Akhtar with a pull towards the midwicket in the 29th over. The batsman had bested the bowler on this evening and he ended up making 141. However, it was an all familiar tale for Tendulkar. His exploits did not translate into team success. India ended up losing by 12 runs.
Excitement was at fever pitch for the clash between two sub-continent cricketing powerhouses at the 2003 World Cup. India, who had never lost to Pakistan in a World Cup match, had the odds stacked against them with the bowling might of the two W’s – Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis – and the terrifying Akhtar.
In pursuit of 274, Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag were tasked with getting India off to a flier, and it was the former who rose to the challenge. Keen to make a statement, Tendulkar set out to bully Akhtar in his very first over - and just the second of the innings – and produced the most memorable passage of play in his ODI career. First, an exquisite upper-cut went sailing over point and into the stands, a strike which was complemented on the next delivery with an effortless flick off the legs which whisked away to the boundary. Then, Tendulkar eased into a straight drive, which breezed sweetly along the ground for four more, to complete a trio of majestic shots.
The three strokes off Akhtar took the wind out of the speedster – his prickly pace had been thwarted with glorious grace, and Tendulkar’s 98 from 75 balls was the showcase innings in a World Cup he dominated. The only salvation for Akhtar was that he ended up getting Tendulkar out. However, the damage was done and India cruised to a six-wicket win and maintained their unbeaten record against Pakistan in the event.
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I have little interest in cricket. People are crazy about cricket and we feel happy when our country wins. The names of Hanif Mohammad, Imran Khan, Shoaib Akhtar all come to my mind once I think about cricket. These are legends of Pakistani cricket