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Natwest Final 2002: A Day Indian Cricket Will Never Forget

With Sourav Ganguly leading Team India, there were signs of great future for Indian cricket, and 2002 Natwest Final against England was the beginning of India’s mission abroad. The date 13th July, 2002 is etched in the history for forever.

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Last updated: 13.07.2020
Natwest Final 2002 A Day Indian Cricket Will Never Forget | Sports Social Blog

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This is the day changed the Indian cricket mindset forever. Indian cricket coming out of the most controversial period of its journey was trying to rebuild the national team. Cricket in India was going through an interesting phase. Led by Sourav Ganguly, with a new deputy Rahul Dravid and John Wright, India cricket team became a mixture of youth and experience. If 2001 Eden test was one the signs of what India cricket would produce in future, 2002 Natwest Final was the beginning of India’s mission abroad. 

17 years ago on this day, a spirited Indian side, shook the cricket world. They began to earn respect from everyone around the cricket circuit. It was the final of a tri-series that featured Sri Lanka, England, and India. No wonder England were the favorites. On 13th July 2002 Indian cricket faced the mighty English side at Lord’s.

Batting first, England skipper Nasser Hussain (115 off 128 balls) and opener Marcus Trescothick (109 off 100 balls) partnered for a 185-run stand for the second wicket. Later Andrew Flintoff smashed a quick 40 off 32 balls which helped England to put a mammoth 325 on board. 

India had a brilliant start. The skipper and Virender Sehwag smashed balls all around the ground. They added 106 runs together before Ganguly got out for 60 off 43 balls in the 15th over. Sehwag scored 45 but couldn’t continue the momentum once Ganguly was gone. Then it was absolute collapse as Dinesh Mongia (9), Sachin Tendulkar (14), and Rahul Dravid (5) failed miserably.

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India were on 146/5 in the 24th over within the next 40 runs with two young batters on the crease. There was zero hope. All gave up on the match. It was just a matter of time for the series loss for India. Then what followed next was nothing short of a miracle.

Yuvraj Singh and Mohammad Kaif began an unequal battle with 180 runs required in 27 overs. They built a partnership of 121 runs in just 112 deliveries. They were cautious. They knew their wickets were important. They didn’t take many risks and depended a lot on quick singles and doubles. Yuvraj scored 69 off 63 and was out in the 41st over. India were certainly not ready for another twist. Once the partnership was broken, the ball again went to England’s court. 

Sourav Ganguly's shirt removal and Team India Celebration

But Kaif was unstoppable. He along with Harbhajan Singh built a 50-run stand in 29 balls. But even Harbhajan was gone in the 48th over and India still needed 12 runs. The same over saw Anil Kumble getting dismissed with the runs remain unchanged. But Zaheer Khan came down and played one of the most valuable innings of his life. He scored unbeaten four runs and did exactly what the moment asked for. He stayed, rotated the strike, and they took winning runs with three balls remaining.

The following scenes are still enriched by the Indian cricket fans. Nobody expected seniors like Ganguly, Dravid, Kumble to show such emotions on the field. Ganguly’s shirt removal frame became iconic. That did raise a lot of debates but changed the body language of Indian cricket forever. 

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