Sachin Tendulkar is considered by many as the greatest ODI batsman of all time. The reason behind that is that he played ODI cricket through different eras and always adapted himself to the way the ODI game evolved. He never fell behind the tempo of the game.
Tendulkar started playing ODI cricket in the early nineties when a strike rate of 80 was considered good enough and then he went through eras where a strike rate of 100 was considered standard. But Tendulkar always matched the standard required right till the time he played ODI cricket. Here are the 5 fastest ODI hundreds scored by Tendulkar –
1. Against Zimbabwe (71 balls)
This was the final of the tri-series involving India, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe played in Sharjah. India and Zimbabwe made it to the final and batting first in the final, Zimbabwe posted 196 on the board which was a below-par total, but some amount of fight was expected from the Zimbabwe bowlers in the second innings considering how well they had performed in the tournament prior to that game.
However, the Indian opening pair of Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly turned the game completely one-sided as India chased the target down without losing a single wicket. Tendulkar was the aggressor in the partnership as he completed his hundred off just 71 balls. The master blaster eventually remained unbeaten on 124 off 92 balls, while Ganguly remained unbeaten on 63 off 90 balls.
2. Against West Indies (76 balls)
This was the 4th game of the ODI bilateral series between India and West Indies in 2007 and Tendulkar batted at no. 4 in that game. Robin Uthappa and Sourav Ganguly opened the batting and got India off to a great start. Tendulkar later capitalized on that start and smacked the West Indies bowlers to all corners.
Tendulkar remained unbeaten on 100 off just 76 balls in that game with 10 boundaries and a six as India managed to post 341 runs on the board at the loss of just 3 wickets. West Indies, in reply, didn’t manage to get anywhere close to the target as they got bundled out for just 181 runs and lost the game by 160 runs.
3. Against Australia (81 balls)
This was a game which is itched in the memory of the Indian fans because of the heartbreak India suffered that day. It was the 5th game of the ODI series between India and Australia in 2009 and Australia managed to get to the 350-run mark batting first. Although it was a flat wicket, it still seemed too much of a score to chase down against a very potent Australian attack.
Tendulkar, however, had other ideas. The little master held the fort single-handedly for India and not only completed his hundred in just 81 balls, but he also batted right till the very end before being dismissed for 175 off 141 balls. India, despite Tendulkar’s mammoth effort, fell short of the target by 4 runs and lost that game.
4. Against Kenya (84 balls)
It was one of the games of the ODI World Cup 1999 and India was up against a pretty average Kenyan attack which hadn’t done anything significant in the tournament ahead of that game. Although India couldn’t quite get off to a great start, Rahul Dravid stitched a double hundred partnership with Tendulkar for the third wicket and got India past 300.
While Dravid also scored a hundred, Tendulkar’s hundred was scored at a much higher strike rate as he crossed the three-figure mark in just 84 balls and eventually remained not out at the score of 140 off 101 balls with 16 fours and 3 sixes. The Kenyan team couldn’t quite chase the target down and suffered a 94-run defeat.
5. Against New Zealand (87 balls)
India, New Zealand and Australia had played a tri-series in 2003. In one of the games of that tri-series in Hyderabad, Tendulkar opened the batting with Virender Sehwag and smacked an 87-ball hundred. Sehwag also was in a similar kind of flow during that game as the duo added 182 runs for the first wicket before Tendulkar was dismissed by Chris Harris.
Courtesy the hundreds of Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar, India scored 353 runs in the first innings and restricted the Kiwis below 250 to win the game comfortably. It was the same game where Rahul Dravid had scored the fastest ever half-century of his career by smashing 50 runs off just 22 balls batting at no. 5.