India have always had the upper hand against Kenya in World Cup matches. The 1999 Bristol encounter that summer was no different. The Kenyans managed only 235 at the loss of 7 wickets in reply to the massive target of 330 as India comfortable won the match by 94 runs. But the reason why it holds a significant place in Indian cricket history is because of Sachin Tendulkar's unbeaten 140.
While the knock warrants a place in the list of Sachin's best knocks in his illustrious ODI career, the reason behind its significance is the circumstances that it came under. Only a few days earlier, Sachin had lost his father. He had left the squad whilst the campaign for the same reason and hence missed the Zimbabwe game, the one India had lost.
But he came back stronger than ever, showing remarkable focus and strokeplay en route to his 101-ball knock. He laced 16 boundaries and three sixes to help India amass 329 for six.
“After spending four days in India, I returned to England to rejoin the team on the eve of the match against Kenya. That, it seemed to me, was what my father would have wanted me to do, and that’s what prompted the decision to return to London to play the remaining World Cup matches,” Tendulkar later said.
Alongside Sachin's 140* came Rahul Dravid's well-crafted 104 as the pair stitched an impressive 237-run stand. Later, Debashish Mohanty's 4/56 helped India fold Kenya 94 runs short of the target.
“That was the most difficult stage of my life. At that moment my mom said that even my father would have wanted me to go back and play, because if I sit back at home then it would possibly be the worst thing. ‘You have to go and play for your country, because that is the most important thing,” Tendulkar recounted to rediff.com years after the incident.
ICC on his 47th birthday had listed his Kenya knock as his second-best ODI score after Desert Storm innings.
The team later defeated Sri Lanka and England to qualify for the Super Sixes.