And so in between the lucky breaks he brought off strokes that carried his inimitable stamp of class, style and experience, guiding the innings through the ups and downs - the comparatively early dismissal of Virender Sehwag, the rather unexpected departure of Gautam Gambhir against the run of play, the dismissals of Virat Kohli and Yuvraj Singh off successive balls and played the anchor role to perfection.
It was not until the last ball of the 37th over that he finally went back to the pavilion with the comforting knowledge that his innings of 85 (115 balls, 11 fours) on a sluggish surface not entirely conducive to strokeplay would go a long way in pushing India towards a competitive, challenging - and ultimately match-winning - total.
A major highlight of his invaluable knock - he opened the innings and was fifth out at 187 - was his running between wickets. He is turning 38 in a few weeks, has played international cricket for over 21 years but his enthusiasm for the game is still boyishly enthusiastic - no doubt the chief reason for the exalted status he enjoys in the game.Image: India's Sachin Tendulkar leaps in the air as he celebrates his team's win by 29 runs during the Cricket World Cup semifinal match between India and Pakistan in Mohali, India, Wednesday, March 30, 2011.
Full Coverage: World Cup 2011