Why is Sachin Tendulkar’s Sharjah inning so famous?

I have heard this question from many people - Why are Sachin’s twin desert storm knocks so famous. When I first saw those innings, even I wasn’t able to understand the reason behind it. Only years later was I able to fully appreciate the brilliance from Sachin in those 2 matches.

‘What’s so special in chasing 270?’ might be the initial reaction of the audience. But, they wouldn’t be knowing that back then in 1998, 272 was a good score. Likewise, there are many other parameters to be considered, which I’m going to put across here.

In order to be easily relatable, I’ll consider the same match happening in 2018, with the same players, opposition, etc. But obviously, there’ll be one change now from 1998 - the impact of T20 cricket, smaller boundaries, and larger bats which will affect the scores and strike rates.

Sachin during the famous Sharjah knock

1. Average 1st Innings score and Target Set

Average 1st Innings Score in 1996: 229

Average 1st Innings Score in 1997: 230

Target set by Australia in group stage match and finals respectively: 284, 273
So, if the match had happened in 2018, then India would have had to chase 40–50 more than the par score, i.e 310–320 would have been the target for India today.

2. Opposition and Bowling attack

If having to score that many runs wasn’t difficult already, then imagine having to do against the likes of Warne, Kasprowicz, Damien Fleming. These bowlers are capable of destroying batting line-ups on their own, leave alone together. Not only the bowlers, but Australia as a team were very dominating and intimidating in the 90’s.

3. Conditions in Sharjah

Another factor to look into is the humid conditions present in Sharjah then. Those were very testing conditions for the batsmen there which made stroke-making and running very difficult. Few grounds around the world today provide such challenges to batsmen, barring places like Chennai. Apart from the humidity, another difficulty faced by the batsmen is the lesser airflow coming in due to the structure of the stadiums. 

4. Single-handed effort from Sachin

Sachin’s contribution in Group stage match - 143 out of 250 (57%). Other 6 batsmen’s combined contribution - 95 out of 250 (38%).

Sachin’s contribution in final - 134 out of 275 (49%). Other 5 batsmen’s combined contribution - 126 out of 275 (45%).

5. Sachin’s strike-rate

At a time when scoring 70–75 runs per 100 balls was the norm, Sachin managed a Strike-rate of about 1.5 times that value (103 and 110). Today, the strike rate of a batsman is around 90 on average. So, Sachin’s strike rate today would be somewhere around 135 (1.5*90). To score 160 runs at an SR of 135 would require Sachin to face about 120 balls.

“We didn’t lose to a team, we lost to the only man - Sachin Tendulkar.” - Steve Waugh

“I’ll be going to bed having nightmares of Sachin just running down the wicket and belting me back over the head for six.” - Shane Warne

Source - Quora

According to you which is the best innings of Sachin Tendulkar in any form of Cricket?