After a loss in the 2003 World Cup final, the Indian team rejuvenated itself in the next few years. The likes of MS Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh, Mohammad Kaif now became an integral part of the team, and India started playing more aggressively. At the age of 34, this turned out to be Sachin’s second last World Cup outing and also the shortest.
Flying to the Caribbean, Sachin was in a good nick. He had three fifties and a century in his last seven ODI knocks. The 2007 World Cup included 16 teams divided into four groups with only two teams from each group moving forward. India’s first encounter was with Bangladesh at Port of Spain.
Indian Captain Rahul Dravid won the toss and chose to bat first. To strengthen the middle order, the team management decided to push Sachin down the order at number four rather than his usual opening spot. Walking out to bat at 21/2, Sachin tried to steady the innings with Ganguly but he was foxed by Abdur Razzak. The Master Blaster was out for 7(26) and the team was all out for 191. India lost the match by five wickets.
Sachin at 2007 World Cup
The Blue team next faced World Cup debutants Bermuda. Batting with a bruised ego, Indian side hammered the Bermuda bowling attack. They recorded the highest team score in the tournament’s history with a mammoth total of 418/5. Sachin scored his 13th World Cup fifty with an enterprising knock of unbeaten 57 from just 29 balls.
Despite the record-breaking 257-run victory over Bermuda, India still needed to defeat Sri Lanka in their final group game. The Islanders batted first and set a target of 255 for India. When Sachin walked out to bat, the side was reeling at 43/2. His stay at the crease lasted for only three balls as Dilhara Fernando castled him for a duck. Rest of the Indian batsmen failed to turn up in the pressure situation and India lost by 69 runs.
The early exit from the World Cup haunted the Indian players for days to come. Later Sachin termed the elimination as the worst moment of his professional career. His search for the World Cup glory was extended by four years. It would be his last and his most favorite.