Free Press Journal

15 years of Natwest series win: Relive Kaif’s brilliance, Dada’s shirt-waving


Ever since Sourav Ganguly took over as the skipper of the Indian team he not only led from the front with the bat but also injected a lot of aggression into the players. While the ‘Prince of Kolkata’ gave Indian fans numerous moments to cherish for a lifetime, one that stands out is his shirt-waving celebration at the Lord’s balcony after Men in Blue stunned hosts England on their home soil.

Sourav Ganguly’s shirtless tirade from the balcony is one of the over-lasting images on Indian cricket after Team India beat England and lifted the NatWest Trophy. Ganguly was obviously incensed about the way England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff had taken off his shirt during a match at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai during an earlier tour and was waiting to return the compliment.

Watch the video here:

Set 326 to win, India squandered good start and were struggling at 146 for 5. Fifteen years down the line, we relive that match in which two young guns, Yuvraj Singh and Mohammad Kaif, stole the thunder from the Englishmen. Although a terribly disappointed Yuvraj got out for 69 when India were 267-5, Kaif kept his head to take India home with just three balls and two wickets to spare.

It was a sweet revenge for India, who drew a heated ODI series against England at home 3-3. In an iconic moment, Dada took off his shirt and swirled it wildly standing at the balcony. While it received mixed reviews, Ganguly didn’t have any regrets about what he did. And even after 15 years, Indian fans have not forgotten that eventful day. Kaif remained unbeaten on 87 off 75 balls and became Indian team’s new hero overnight. Kaif, who was adjudged the Man of the Match for his stupendous knock, posted an emotional message on Twitter on Thursday recalling the triumph.

“15 years ago #OnThisDay, I lived a dream, a dream of a lifetime. We won the Natwest series Finals against England chasing 326 #87NotOut,” he tweeted.

It was major turning point in the game for the nation. It taught the boys that winning abroad was not impossible and no team was unbeatable. While Ganguly’s shirt-waving celebration was a delight to watch for the fans, many senior players, including Indian cricketers, said that the gesture was uncalled for.