Dubai: “July 13, 2002: The day we climbed Mt Everest at Lord’s...Dada shirtless, Yuvi nerveless, Zak’s support priceless, Me fearless...memories endless,” tweeted Mohammad Kaif, Man of the Final in India’s epic chase of a 326-run target in the Natwest Trophy final against England. It’s been 18 years to the day, but the day is still considered as a huge landmark in Indian cricket.
After being set a steep 300-plus target, India were struggling at 146/5 when both Yuvraj Singh and Mohammad Kaif got together at the crease. The duo put on a partnership of 121 runs to give India a glimmer of hope in the match.
Yuvraj got out after scoring 69 runs, but Kaif batted well with the tailenders to give India a win in the final over by two wickets and with three balls to spare. Kaif remained unbeaten on 87.
As the winning run was hit, skipper Ganguly took his shirt off at the balcony of Lord’s Cricket Ground to celebrate in style. Now a mellowed 48-year-old and President of Borad of Control for Cricket in India, ‘Dada’ has been asked about the gesture innumerable times at TV interviews, leadership summits - much to his embarrassment.
Ganguly and Virender Sehwag had provided a good start to the side, but England staged a comeback to reduce India at 146/5. The Men in Blue had lost the wickets of Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, and Dinesh Mongia cheaply.
Marcus Trescothick and Nasser Hussain had scored centuries for the hosts as England had raced away and ended on 325 for five, considered at that time an impossible chase.
The win is still etched firmly in the minds of it’s protagonists as Yuvraj also took to social media to relive the occasion. “#Throwback to Natwest 2002 Final. Jaan laga di thi sab ne mil ke! (We all had given our life to it). We were young and we wanted to win. It was a wonderful team effort that helped us beat England and clinch the trophy in this nail-biting game,” Yuvraj wrote on Instagram.