Sachin Tendulkar remembered India’s sensational last-over win against South Africa in the semifinal of Hero Cup at the Eden Gardens way back in 1993, in which a mongoose turned out to be good omen for India.
The visitors had come under pressure when Tendulkar bowled the final over with only six runs needed, and scripted an unforgettable victory for his side at the Eden Gardens.
The batting legend is the face of IDBI Federal Life Insurance Kolkata Full Marathon. Sachin Tendulkar said on the eve of the race, “I don’t know how many of you have noticed this but because it was the first day and night match, there was a mongoose which kept coming in the second half of the match.”
He further added, “We got some wickets when it came. Then there were some runs and again the mongoose came and we got wickets. So I was waiting for the mongoose to keep coming. The match got rather close and I ended up bowling the last over.”
When skipper Mohammad Azharuddin gave him the task to bowl the last over, Sachin said on this challenge, “When in Kolkata we used to have a joke running around –‘Pehle do wicket lelo, baki ke aath wickets crowd le leta hai’ (first take the first two wickets, the crowd will look after the rest).”
Tendulkar said that the Hero Cup semi-final on November 24, 1993, is one of his best moments at Eden Gardens. He said, “It was quite memorable and completely different, the first day-and-night match where I ended up bowling the last over. The experience to see the entire stadium lit with torches was truly out of this world. They stay with you for the rest of your life.”
He recalled the epoch-making series against South Africa in 1991, “There have been so many memories when it comes to Kolkata. The first big moment for me was when we played against South Africa, who was getting back to the International cricket.”
On November 10, 1991, Tendulkar jointly won the Man-of-the-Match award with Donald for his 73-ball 62 in their three-wicket wins. He stated on this, “We had a spectacular match, Donald had a fiery spell up front but we got a partnership going and ended up winning the game. All in all, the experience was overwhelming not just for South Africa but also for me.”
The Master Blaster also remembered the welcome at the airport when both of teams landed there, “It was incredible, not just inside the stadium but the moment they landed at the airport. On their way to the hotel, there were people standing and cheering on both sides of the road. I later spoke to (then captain) Clive Rice who was double my age that time and he still fondly recalled that series.”