Sandstorms in the United Arab Emirates have been an integral part of cricket folklore and it made its return once again before the all-important IPL 2021 game between the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in Sharjah.
The sandstorm not only led to a delay in the toss and start of play on Friday (September 24) evening, but also forced a temporary halt in the proceedings of the Rajasthan Royals’ practice game in Abu Dhabi.
The Royals’ official Instagram handle posted a video of the same with a caption that read:
”23 years on, a sandstorm stops play again. #HallaBol | #IPL2021 | #RoyalsFamily”
Watch the video here:
Sharjah hosted its first game of the UAE leg of the 14th IPL on Friday with CSK locking horns with Virat Kohli’s RCB.
The Royals, on the other hand, will lock horns with Delhi Capitals in Abu Dhabi on Saturday afternoon.
When Sachin’s storm hit Sharjah after a sandstorm
The connection between the sandstorm and the UAE started back in April 1998 when the force of nature made its appearance during an ODI between India and Australia in Sharjah.
Sachin Tendulkar was in the midst of a brilliant knock in what was a must-win game for Team India before a massive sandstorm halted his charge. The score at the time was 143/4 (target: 285).
When the match restarted, the revised equation for India to qualify for the finals of the tri-nation tournament (the third side was New Zealand) was 237 in 46 overs.
The Master Blaster was in his element in 1998 and on the night of the sandstorm, he batted like a man possessed. Tendulkar charged back into the middle and batted as if he was looking to not only help India qualify the final but also overhaul Australia’s total.
“Oh! It’s high, it’s high, it’s all the way, it’s way over the top, into the crowds again, Sachin Tendulkar wants to win this match” – Tony Greig’s commentary made Sachin’s knock even more special.
Tendulkar’s storm ensured that he led his team to the final in the 43rd over but just as it looked he’d singlehandedly gun down the target, the right-hander voluntarily decided to walk after Adam Gilchrist appealed for a leg-side strangle. He finished with a whirlwind 143 (off 131) and he backed it up with another brilliant 134 in the final to lead his side to the title, incidentally on his 25th birthday.