On this day, in 2002, a match was played at Mecca of Cricket, Lord’s which changed the present and future of Indian Cricket Team forever. The final of NatWest Series was surely one of the most epic matches in the history of cricket and for India, it was something more than that. That day, the game witnessed one the greatest comeback ever in One Day Internationals by a team whose back was against the wall. That game was the story of the emergence of Yuvraj Singh and Mohammad Kaif.
No cricket fan can ever forget the celebration filled with madness from than Indian Captain Sourav Ganguly when he removed his shirt from the balcony of Lord’s as Zaheer Khan and Mohammad Kaif completed the second run on the overthrow on the third ball of the last over of the match.
Chasing a huge target of 326-runs, a target which they had never achieved before. Indian team was on the edge of losing the match when they lost half of their batting line up at just 146-runs. Batsman like Virender Sehwag, Sourav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid was back in the pavilion, watching the match from the balcony when newcomers, 21 -year old Yuvraj Singh and 22-year old Mohammad Kaif came to the middle.
While batting first, England Opener Marcus Trescothick (109) and Captain Nasser Hussain (115) hammered Indian bowling line up with their 185-runs partnership and then some firecrackers from Andrew Flintoff helped England to post a mammoth of 325 runs against the Indian team playing under tough away conditions.
In reply, Opener Virender Sehwag and Sourav Ganguly gave India the opening which was exactly needed to chase a target like this, by adding 106-runs in just 14.3 overs. But just 10-overs later victory was looking like a distant dream when the Indian scorecard was showing 146/5.
Yuvraj Singh’s 69 off just 63 balls and Kaif’s 87 off just 75 balls rescued India with their career defining 121-run stand in just 17.4 overs and gave India a hope by dragging the scoreboard to 267/6 in 41.4 overs, but the drama and thrill was not yet complete when Yuvraj fell with India still requiring another 59 runs in 50 balls.
England was back in the game, but Kaif kept the scoreboard running with yet another crucial stand of 47-runs in just 35-balls along with Harbhajan. But the luck was still swinging like a pendulum in favor between both the teams when India lost both Harbhajan and Kumble at the score of 314-runs. Still requiring 12-runs in 2-wo overs with just two wickets in hands, those two wickets were a bigger concern for India the 12-runs and 12-balls.
After just nine balls the nerve-racking finish was complete with three deliveries to spare followed by the wild celebration with Ganguly took his shirt off and celebrated the win from the iconic Lord’s balcony.
15 years ago #OnThisDay , I lived a dream, a dream of a lifetime. We won the Natwest series Finals against England chasing 326 #87NotOut pic.twitter.com/KDXN5WwrLJ
— Mohammad Kaif (@MohammadKaif) July 13, 2017