Yuvraj Singh and Mohammad Kaif picked up the pieces for India in the 2002 NatWest Trophy final against England.
It’s been two decades since the cricket world witnessed one of the greatest battles on the 22 yards when India and England crossed swords in the final of the 2002 NatWest Trophy on 13 July at Lord's. The Men in Blue dedicated their sweat and blood until Sourav Ganguly marked the historic victory by waving his shirt from Lord’s balcony.
India, under the leadership of Ganguly, played well throughout the tri-series, winning four of their five league games. When they headed to the final to meet the hosts, there were a few doubts on whether they could replicate the earlier performance. However, the extraordinary team effort and Ganguly’s aggressive approach guided the side to lift the historic NatWest Trophy.
Batting first, England didn’t face much resistance in the initial phase. Opener Marcus Trescothick got well settled at the crease and went on to score a hundred. The southpaw registered a 100-ball 109 which included seven boundaries and two maximums. Skipper Naseer Hussain also breached the 100-run mark scoring 115 runs off 128 balls. Among others, Andrew Flintoff played his part and added 40 runs to the scoresheet. Riding on these knocks, the English brigade posted a huge 325 runs on the board.
In response, the Indian opening pair, Virender Sehwag and Ganguly started the chase well. The duo stitched a 106-run stand until Ganguly fell for a 43-ball 60 off Alex Tudor. In the next over, Ashley Giles got rid of Sehwag who missed the half-century by just 5 runs scoring 45 off 49 deliveries. Then the middle order didn’t get much time to settle as Dinesh Mongia, Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid contributed 9, 14 and 5 runs respectively to the mammoth chase.
With India five down at 146, young guns Yuvraj Singh and Mohammad Kaif took charge and stitched a 121-run partnership. Both reached the 50-run mark as Kaif remained unbeaten at 87 and Yuvraj Singh whacked a quickfire 65-ball 69. The duo had almost done the job and made it easy for the tailenders. With Zaheer Khan tapping the ball to the offside and completing a double, India scripted history by claiming the title. Kaif who played the innings of his life was awarded Player of the Match.
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