New Delhi: Former India batsman Mohammad Kaif had thought the famous NatWest Series final, which India won defying odds against England, was lost when Yuvraj Singh got out in their daunting chase of 326 at Lord’s in 2002.
India, led by Sourav Ganguly, won the final by two wickets with three balls to spare riding Yuvraj and Kaif’s sixth-wicket stand of 121 runs. The Men in Blue were 146/5 at one stage when the pair joined hands and from there the rest was history.
Kaif remained unbeaten on 87 to take India home with Zaheer Khan at the other end but Yuvraj got out in the 42nd over on 69, with India still needing 59 for victory and four wickets in hand.
“When you (Yuvraj) got out, I thought the match is gone. I did not think we will win,” Kaif said in an Instagram Live chat with Yuvraj.
“I was set, you were there. So I believed if we played till the end India win will. But you got out and India lost hope and my heart broke,” Kaif added.
The victory, also remembered for Ganguly celebrating by opening his shirt at the Lord’s balcony, changed Indian cricket forever in ways more than one.
Kaif also picked out Yuvraj’s 25-ball 58 against Australia in the 2000 U-19 World Cup where the former was the captain as one of his best knocks despite the decorated southpaw smashing six sixes and having many other memorable knocks in his illustrious career.
“That innings, the way you dominated the likes of Mitchell Johnson, Shane Watson was amazing. You have many superb knocks, you hit six sixes…but to me at the U-19 level to see someone bat like that…was special. We all knew you will go far and play for a long time,” Kaif said.
Rated as one of the best fielders in India, Kaif said he worked on his fielding as he wanted to stand out in one of the departments.
“I always wanted to be different and I wanted to focus on fielding. I worked really hard on my fielding.”
Yuvraj added that he and Kaif changed the momentum for India on the field during those days.
“At point and cover we changed the momentum in a lot of ways. Now the team has so many good fielders but I feel we changed the momentum,” said Yuvraj, himself a livewire.