Kaif and Yuvraj recall historic moments of Natwest 2002 final

0
7

NEW DELHI: Former Indian cricketer Mohammad Kaif on Monday revealed that he had thought India would lose the final when all-rounder Yuvraj Singh got out in quest of 326 runs against England in the famous Natwest series final.
Kaif made the revelation during an Instagram Live session with former Indian batsman Yuvraj Singh. “I thought the match was gone when you (Yuvraj) got out. I didn’t think we will win because I had a comfort factor with you,” said Kaif.
“And we were so close, I was set and you were also there. So there was a belief that if we played till last India will win. But you got out and broke my heart,” he added.
In the Natwest final at Lord’s in 2002, India had set a target of 326 to win the match. India was struggling at 146/5 when both Yuvraj and 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. After the win, the then skipper Ganguly took off his shirt and celebrated in style at the Lord’s dressing room.

Yuvraj Singh

Yuvraj Singh

Former Indian all-rounder Yuvraj Singh on Monday said the famous Natwest series final against England taught him the important lesson to fight till the last ball of the game.

Yuvraj made the revelation during an Instagram Live session with former India batsman Mohammad Kaif.”I got a very big lesson in that game when Sachin got out. They celebrated like they have won the match there and then Ronnie Irani told me when you go back enjoy yourselves. We started running well between the wickets and this caused panic in the England line-up. When they started to attack us, we were set by then. I realised in that game that at no stage, one should think they have won the match before the final ball,” Yuvraj said.

Mohammad Kaif

In the Natwest final at Lord’s in 2002, India was set a target of 326 to win the match. India was struggling at 146/5 when both Yuvraj and 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.

“When I entered the pitch during the Natwest final 2002, I thought that Yuvraj is in the middle and I knew that I do not worry about the strike rate. I knew I had to play my role and rotate the strike. I was not that mature during that match, I had played just 18-19 matches,” Kaif said.

Yuvraj was dismissed for 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. After the win, the then skipper, Ganguly, took off his shirt and celebrated in style at the Lord’s dressing room.

Yuvraj termed Kaif’s knock as the best of his career. Kaif played an unbeaten knock of 87 runs off 75 balls, studded with two sixes and seven fours.

“Our partnership flourished. I was scoring boundaries in the middle, Dada (Sourav Ganguly) shouted from the dressing room to give me the strike but you (Kaif) smashed the ball for a six. You (Kaif) played very good innings in the finals. I think it has to be the best innings in your career. In terms of the pressure, I think it has to be your best ODI knock,” Yuvraj said.

Yuvraj announced his retirement from international cricket in 2019. In a career that spanned over 304 ODIs, 58 T20Is and 40 Tests, Yuvraj imprinted his place in the echelons of cricket as a player who could win matches for his side either through his electric fielding, smart and attacking bowling, fierce batting or all of them in a single game.

Big events brought out the best in him — be it his international cricket entry at 2000 ICC Champions Trophy, the mesmerising batting exhibition at inaugural 2007 World Twenty20 or the all-round performance at 2011 World Cup. (ANI)