Exactly 16-years-ago, on 13 July 2002, under Sourav Ganguly’s captaincy, Indian cricket team achieved a memorable moment as they won the 2002 NatWest series (ODI tri-series) after beating the hosts England in a thrilling way in the final at Lord’s. It was an unforgettable moment for Indian cricket history that has led to a long successful journey in the nation’s cricket. In this game, two young Indian lads Yuvraj Singh and Mohammad Kaif became the hero of the nation.
In this ODI tri-series, Sri Lanka participated along with India and the hosts England. While the finalists India and England won four and three games respectively before the final, Sri Lanka only managed to win one game.
Coming to the final, English captain Nasser Hussain won the toss and decided to bat first in the day game. After the opener Nick Knight (14) was dismissed at the end of the 42-run opening partnership with Marcus Trescothick, Trescothick carried the innings with the skipper Nasser Hussain.
They put a huge 185-run partnership for the second wicket while Trescothick completed his century in just 89 balls and scored 109 off 100 balls (7 fours and 2 sixes) before Indian leggie Anil Kumble bowled him.
English skipper further carried his innings with Andrew Flintoff as they put 80-run partnership for the third wicket. Hussain completed his hundred in 118 balls while Flintoff was dismissed on 40 off 32 balls (2 fours and only six).
Soon, Hussain was dismissed on 115 off 128 balls with 10 fours as England put a mammoth total of 325/5 at the end of 50 overs.
Indian pacer Zaheer Khan (3/62) scalped three wickets while Ashish Nehra (1/66) and Anil Kumble (1/54) picked up one wicket each.
It was a mammoth chase at that time. However, Indian openers started very well as Virender Sehwag and Sourav Ganguly put an impressive 106-run opening partnership in very quick time. But, since that partnership was broken by the pacer Alex Tudor, Indian innings suffered a major batting collapse.
As Ganguly (60 off 43 balls) and Sehwag’s (45 off 49 balls) dismissal in quick succession, Dinesh Mongia (9), Sachin Tendulkar (14) and Rahul Dravid (5) also departed cheaply. India suddenly went down from 106/0 to 146/5.
Two young lads, Yuvraj Singh and Mohammad Kaif came to rescue the team as they put a crucial 121-run partnership for the sixth wicket that set for an entertaining finish.
Both completed half-centuries but Yuvraj was caught out at the important time after scoring 69 off 63 balls (9 fours and only six). Since then, Kaif stretched the innings with the lower-order support.
In the final over, India needed two runs for victory but they had only two wickets in hand and most importantly Zaheer Khan was facing the first delivery of that over. Pacer Andrew Flintoff had the responsibility in that final over who produced two dot balls at first and then Khan and Kaif snatched two thrilling runs to secure an unforgettable victory in the Indian cricket history. India won the game by two wickets with just three balls to spare.
Kaif was unbeaten on 87 off 75 balls with 6 fours and 2 sixes and won the Player of the Match award while the English opener Trescothick won the Player of the Tournament award.
It was an unbelievable chase in the world cricket at that time. At that time, it was the second highest successful ODI chase as the record was chasing 327-run by Australia (330/7 in 49.1 overs) against South Africa at Port Elizabeth on April 6, 2002.
After winning this game, Indian captain Sourav Ganguly waved his shirt which is very famous in the world cricket history.
Here is the match video: