On this day in 2002, Yuvi & Kaif delivered one of the best on-field performances at the Natwest series Final 2002 at Lord’s! Dada delivered one of the best off-field performances from Lord’s Balcony! Dada also scored a vital half-century which helped India to win the NatWest final.
India had lost 9 consecutive tournament finals in the lead up to Natwest series in 2002 and had to chase a mammoth total of 326 in the final against England at Lord’s.
India were struggling at 146 for 5 while chasing 326 against England in the NatWest series final when Yuvraj Singh and Mohammad Kaif came together and stitched a match-winning performance
It was on this day that the infamous visuals of a bare-chested Ganguly waving his shirt around on top of the Lord’s balcony went viral and is still etched in the memory of every Indian fan. It was a celebration which will be remembered by generations to come.
Earlier in the day, the Man of the Match from the final, Mohammad Kaif took to social media and shared a memorable throwback photo from the post-match celebrations.
“July 13, 2002: The day we climbed Mt Everest at Lord’s…Dada shirtless, Yuvi nerveless, Zak’s support priceless, Me fearless…memories endless,” Kaif wrote.
July 13, 2002: The day we climbed Mt Everest at Lord's…Dada shirtless, Yuvi nerveless, Zak's support priceless, Me fearless…memories endless. pic.twitter.com/ND6UDkaUiM
— Mohammad Kaif (@MohammadKaif) July 13, 2020
In a column for The Indian Express, Kaif recalled the celebrations that he saw in his hometown of Allahabad after he returned home.
“Back home in Allahabad, once I returned, I couldn’t handle the celebrations. I was a shy person but people kept coming to my home. Mummy was serving tea snacks to everyone all the time. The media attention too was different. They would follow me everywhere. I loved to fly kites at the bank of the Yamuna and they would be there too, saying, ‘Look, kaif ne aaj patang udayi(Kaif flew kites today!)”. Aree! I have been flying kites daily from childhood. It took me a while to understand all those reactions,” he recalled.
Chasing a huge total of 326 run in that time was a big thing. India’s batting order collapsed after getting a fine start from Ganguly and Sehwag. From 106/0 to 146/5, India lost 5 wickets in getting 40 odd runs. While the Indian fans began leaving the ground, Kaif’s family members had also given up as they went on to watch Bollywood movie Devdas.
“The first memory of that chase at Lord’s that comes to my mind is people walking out when I was walking in to bat. They felt the match was over as Sachin had got out. Later, I would find out that my family in Allahabad too had done the same. The movie Devdas was running at a nearby theatre and my father, who was a fan of Dilip Kumar, had taken the family to see the Shahrukh Khan starrer after Sachin fell. Don’t worry, I have forgiven them!” Kaif added.
“I remember another special image. When I returned home to Allahabad, I was put on an open-jeep procession. It took us nearly three-four hours to travel the five-six km to our home. People lined up on the roads. Garlands, chants, happy faces. When I was a kid, I had seen Amitabh Bachchan in an open jeep after he had won an election in my hometown. That day, I felt like Amitabh Bachchan,” the 35-year-old added.
Kaif further said that the win changed Indian cricket. “That win changed Indian cricket to an extent. It showed us we could chase big scores, it showed us we could win big finals – that’s one of the reasons Indian fans remember it a lot as this was a big tournament win at Lord’s after the 1983 World Cup final,”
“I remember the series in Pakistan later, where the scores were consistently over 300 but we were never fazed in the dressing room. There was a sense of calm and belief. That I think came after the Natwest Trophy win,” he added.
Yuvraj Singh, who was also the hero of the match scoring 69 alongside Kaif’s 87 not out in the final against England at Lord’s, took to Twitter to share throwback photos from India’s famous triumph.
In the post Yuvraj wrote: “#Throwback to Natwest 2002 Final. Jaan laga di thi sab ne mil ke (All of us gave everything we had)! 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 said, referring to India’s historic chase of 326 at Lord’s.
While doing so, Yuvraj Singh also teased former England captain Nasser Hussain, tagging him in the post and saying: “just in case you forgot”.
Nasser Hussain responded to the post, saying: “Some lovely photos mate .. thanks for sharing” along with a winking face emoji.
Some lovely photos mate .. thanks for sharing 😉
— Nasser Hussain (@nassercricket) July 13, 2020
Earlier in the day, in Cricket Inside out , Hussain poured huge praises for Ganguly. He recalls ” That was my most favourite and least favourite game I have ever played to be honest. It was one of the great one day games of that generation. India hadn’t won a major final for a long time. And it looked like they were going to lose that one . and I enjoyed playing against Ganguly . Ganguly i have always said has made indian cricket tough, made it what it is now. Before Sourav they were a very nice bunch to play with some great cricketers but Sourav made them into a very tough, determined side.”