Many about to be defeated were transformed into victory by the Indian cricket team of all eras. But the game and the victory at Lord’s was special and has attained a place in Indian hearts as one of the most special memory.
All those who remember the game know that it was not a cakewalk for India to win the match at Natwest Trophy final against England at Lord’s in 2002. Who can forget how Saurav Ganguly celebrated aggressively in the balcony by taking his shirt off. The golden trio Sachin, Saurav, and Dravid together said the same words to the team to shake them up and lift their morale.
There are endless incidents and stories that have been told time and again from that match. The cricketers who had seen this, in reality, take pride in sharing these stories.
As shared by Ajay Ratra who was the India wicket-keeper and a member of the winning team shared some more incidents about that match. He shared what the team felt and who inspired the Indian side when they saw a score of 325 for 5 with England batting first.
The game called cricket was different 18 years ago and a chase of 300 runs was considered as humungous. The Indian team was losing confidence and a bit shook looking at the total. Senior players along with captain Sourav Ganguly could clearly see this. Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, and Rahul Dravid spoke with each other and together decided to address the team and boost their morale. The golden trio together said, “We will play our natural game, then we’ll see where it goes”, which did the work of catalyst to create a positive vibe and regain confidence.
The Indian team was starting with a very strong batting line and Virender Sehwag along with Sourav Ganguly gave the required 100 in very less time. This further did good for the team and the players were again beaming with confidence.
But even with a good start by Ganguly and Sehwag, the Indian team at one point was 146 for 5, which was a difficult situation to be in.
Ratra being the twelfth man in that game had a discussion with Yuvi and Kaif who were then the batsman on the crease. He recalls how they discussed that to turn the match in their favor they would need more runs from a ball.
Yuvraj and Kaif decided to play with confidence and their best game. Calm and composed they were seen playing brilliant shots, pulls, and over covers which helped the Indian team and became one of best Kaif’s innings. There was a total of 69 put on the scoreboard by Yuvraj Singh and Mohammed Kaif scored 87 not out.
Even till date, that victory at Lord brings a smile on our face.
India won that match with two wickets and the remaining three balls. And the aggression seen after the victory in Lord’s balcony where Captain Sourav Ganguly took off his shirt and waved rose the thermometer of excitement to highest Fahrenheit.