Even by Sachin Tendulkar standards, this was flash. An immaculate 134 at better than a run-a-ball in a run-chase to win a title in Sharjah.
Against a side who would become world champions a little over a year later, and a bowling attack that included one of the all-time greats, in Shane Warne.
What a way to celebrate his 25th birthday. And, to think, it wasn’t even the best century he made that week.
Two days earlier, he had razed the same gilded bowlers, to the tune of 143, in a win that sealed India’s place in the final of the Sharjah Cup – or Coca-Cola Cup, as that specific edition was known.
That knock is regarded by many as possibly his finest ever in the blue for India. It has become known as the “Desert Storm” innings, on account of the fact it was held up for 25 minutes as a sandstorm passed through Sharjah.
To back it up in almost identical fashion two days later is made all the more remarkable, by considering the weather conditions.
Major cricket is rarely played much later in the season that this day, and for good reason.
“Given the conditions in the month of April, the temperatures are really high,” Tendulkar said, recalling the innings two years ago.
“You can feel the heat going through your shoes and socks. The first thing you want to do is to put your feet in the ice bucket.”
The first match finished late in the night. The teams made it back to their hotel in Dubai by 2am. Then, a day of rest, and straight back to it in the final.
That was Tendulkar’s birthday. Even though he was a mere 25, an age at which many international players are just starting out, he had already achieved so much.
It had been nine years since his Test debut against Pakistan, and he had long been feted as India’s biggest star.
But 1998 was another level of achievement altogether. In this Sharjah Cup alone he made 435 runs, while his two centuries in three days were among the nine he scored in limited-overs cricket over the course of the calendar year.
It was peak Tendulkar, the sort of stuff that left opposition players feeling powerless.
Damien Fleming, who was a key part of Australia’s World Cup win in England the following year, was also celebrating his birthday on the day of the final.
His returns were less happy, though.
“Nothing like 25,000 boos on your birthday and losing an ODI final to make you feel at home,” Fleming was later quoted as saying.
“I don't know if Sachin has spoken about that period, but I thought he was at his peak. And he had a long peak.”