When one talks about the 2003 World Cup, Sachin Tendulkar's record number of runs and his knock against Pakistan in a highly surcharged environment in Centurion come to the fore. Tendulkar managed to score 673 runs in the tournament, which is the most by any cricket player in a single edition in the history of the World Cup. However, his knock of 98 off 75 balls against Pakistan is considered one of the best knocks ever. In that knock, he conquered Shoaib Akhtar by hitting him for a couple of boundaries and one memorable upper-cut six which symbolised his class. Tendulkar attacked the Pakistan bowling and survived a dropped catch when Abdul Razzaq dropped the catch and his 98 off 75 balls, aided by valuable contributions from Mohammad Kaif, Yuvraj Singh and Rahul Dravid helped India maintain their unbeaten run in World Cups against Pakistan.
However, in an interaction with India Today, Tendulkar revealed that his cramping led to a major health risk during the clash against Sri Lanka in Johannesburg. "Pakistan is the only game that I have ever taken a runner in my life. That was the World Cup game I couldn't even stand and it felt like someone has tied 500 kg weights. You can check with our then physio Andrew Leipus. I was cramping ....and I took a quick single which wasn't a wise thing to do. As it happened I collapsed and I said I can't go on like this and I tried standing up and I couldn't. So I thought because of cramping, the damage done was severe," Tendulkar said.
In trying to overcome the cramps, Tendulkar drank plenty of salt water and that boomeranged in spectacular fashion during the game against Sri Lanka in Johannesburg. In that match, he revealed he had suffered from Diarrhoea and that he could not recover quickly due to the fact that Centurion and Johannesburg were at high altitude. But, he decided to play through the ailments and help India to victory "I had a tummy problem. Because I didn't want to cramp in the next match, I kept having so much salt (water) and I had terrible diarrhoea. Those are the challenges you face when you have to go out there and play, no matter what if I was able to stand there, bat or not. I was always going to go out there on the field," Tendulkar said.
Tendulkar managed six fifties and a century against Namibia in Pietermaritzburg but was unlucky to not have hit more than one century, having been dismissed in the 90s against Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Kenya. India reached the final but were thrashed by 125 runs against Australia as Ricky Ponting's whirlwind 140 off 101 balls saw Australia post 359/2. In the final, Tendulkar was dismissed for just four runs by Glenn McGrath.