India-Pakistan World Cup match, Johannesburg, 2003 provided much entertainment to the cricket loving audience all across the world. Considered as one of the classic matches in the history of One-Day cricket, the India-Pakistan World Cup match, Johannesburg, 2003 was really a cricketing delight. The mother of all games, the India-Pakistan match saw some extraordinary and brilliant performances from the players of both the teams, as neither India nor Pakistan was willing to leave a single inch to each other in the match. The match was a Pool 'A' match between the two teams and it was a crucial one, as it was going to decide which team would enter into the next level of the ICC World Cup, 2003. The Indian team was captained by Saurav Ganguly. The match is best remembered for the wonderful 98 runs' innings of 'Master Blaster' batsman Sachin Tendulkar that helped the Indian team to clinch a 6 wickets victory in the match.
The Pakistan skipper, Waqar Younis won the toss in the match and decided to bat first, with a view to secure a huge total and put on pressure on the Indian team. His decision was looking to be a right one, as the Pakistani openers made a good opening partnership of 58 runs from the first 10 overs. Zaheer Khan provided the first break through for India in the 11th over, by taking the wicket of Taufeeq Umar. Pakistan lost the second wicket at the score of 90, when Ashish Nehra removed Abdur Razzaq from the crease. The Indians then got yet another huge success, when they made Inzamam-Ul-Haq run out, on Pakistan's score of 98 runs. However, the Pakistani opener, Saeed Anwar and middle-order batsman, Yousuf Youhana then made a good partnership of 73 runs in the fourth wicket and took Pakistan's score to 171 runs. Javagal Srinath broke the partnership by taking the wicket of Youhana and after that, Pakistan started to lose wickets in regular intervals. Only, Saeed Anwar showed some resistance in front of the Indian bowlers, as he played a good knock of 101 runs in the match. Pakistan eventually scored 273 runs from their stipulated 50 overs.
The Indian team got a dream start from their openers in the match, while chasing a good target of 274 runs, set by Pakistan. The two Indian openers, Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag started hammering the Pakistani bowlers right from the beginning of the innings and they scored the first 50 runs from only 5 overs. However, the Pakistani captain Waqar Younis struck twice in the 6th over to get rid of Sehwag and Ganguly and also made India 53-2 in the match. After the departure of Sehwag and Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar made a wonderful partnership with Mohammad Kaif for the third wicket and they together scored 102 runs. They made runs on a quick run rate and that helped the other Indian batsmen to have more time to settle on the crease. Kaif was the third wicket for India to fall in the match, when he got out to Shahid Afridi after scoring 35 runs.
The Pakistani speedster, Shoaib Akhtar then got the most valuable wicket for Pakistan, when he removed Sachin Tendulkar from the crease on India's score of 177 runs. Tendulkar was only 2 runs short of his century in the match, when he got out by Younis Khan. However, the two experienced batsmen, Rahul Dravid and Yuvraj Singh then made sure that no harm is caused to the Indian team after the departure of Sachin Tendulkar. They made a wonderful unbeaten partnership of 99 runs for the fifth wicket and safely sailed the Indian innings to the victory land. Dravid remained not out on 44 runs and Yuvraj Singh played an unbeaten knock of 50 runs. However, it was definitely Sachin Tendulkar who made the real difference between the two teams in the match. His extraordinary innings of 98 runs from only 75 balls encouraged other Indian batsmen a lot. It also demolished the confidence of the Pakistan bowlers. India got into the Super Six stage of the ICC World Cup, 2003 by winning this match.