Mohammad Kaif Birthday Special: Relive the Indian cricketer's famous NatWest final knock

The 2002 final of the series between England and India is a classic, fondly remembered by all who witnessed it and more important the day Mohammad Kaif etched his name into the record books

Joshua GeorgeUpdated: Thursday, December 01, 2022, 08:42 AM IST
article-image

Former Indian batter Mohammad Kaif turns 42 today. Kaif produced many memorable knocks during the span of his career. His nascent years in international cricket were credited for revolutionising the fielding department alongside Yuvraj Singh.

Kaif was selected on the back of his brilliant exploits at U-19 level, where he impressed with the bat and his electric fielding. A utility cricketer par excellence, Kaif highlighted Sourav Ganguly's class of 2001.

Let us relive one of the finest knocks played by Kaif during the Natwest series final in 2022.

Promising start

India were chasing a gargantuan target of 326 runs in the final of the NatWest Series on July 13 in 2002. Indian openers Virender Sehwag and Ganguly got off to a brilliant start scoring at a brisk pace, taking the team past the 100-run mark without any loss.

England on top

Then came the jolt , Ganguly's dismissal trigged a collapse of the top-order. Alex Tudor clean bowled Ganguly for a well-made 60. Virender Sehwag missed out on his fifty as Ashley Giles dimissed the dashing opener for 45.

Dinesh Mongia, Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid soon followed in quick succession with Indiaa reeling at 146-5 from 24 overs.

With the senior generation failing at the top, the onus fell on the young guns to bring it home. The quickfire dismissals of the experienced campaigners made everyone think that India would lose. None envisioned at that point what was to follow.

Kaif and Yuvraj show

Yuvraj and Kaif stitched together a 121-run partnership for the sixth wicket, which turned the game on its head. From a point of dispair and no return the young guns dragged the men in blue from the clutches of early defeat.

England finally got the breakthrough in the 42nd over as Paul Collingwood dismissed Yuvraj for 69. With 59 runs needed and only four wickets in hand, Kaif took the responsibility and led India at the homestretch. Harbhajan Singh and later Zaheer Khan ensured the great escape.

As Zaheer and Kaif ran for two runs, all hell broke lose. An elated Indian team and fans broke into celebration. Captain Ganguly went ballistic, stipping shirtless, waving his jersey at the iconic Lord's balcony as England were left stunned.

An unexpected warrior, an unanticipated finish in unforeseen circumstances, Kaif was thrown in the deepend and emerged a hero. His historic knock was etched in Indian folklore as one of the greatest ever finishes abroad and one of India's most famous wins.

(If you have a story in and around Mumbai, you have our ears, be a citizen journalist and send us your story here. )

(To receive our E-paper on WhatsApp daily, please click here.  To receive it on Telegram, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

RECENT STORIES

Ranji Trophy: 'Never give up', says Hanuma Vihari as he bats with fractured hand again; Watch

Ranji Trophy: 'Never give up', says Hanuma Vihari as he bats with fractured hand again; Watch

'Traditional macho bullying needs to soften': Andrew Strauss calls for inclusivity in men's game...

'Traditional macho bullying needs to soften': Andrew Strauss calls for inclusivity in men's game...

Wrestler Aman Sehrawat wins bronze medal at Zagreb Open Ranking Series

Wrestler Aman Sehrawat wins bronze medal at Zagreb Open Ranking Series

WATCH: India’s U-19 women's cricket team vice-captain Shweta Sehrawat receives grand welcome from...

WATCH: India’s U-19 women's cricket team vice-captain Shweta Sehrawat receives grand welcome from...

IND vs AUS: Ravindra Jadeja clears fitness test; Shreyas Iyer doubtful for Nagpur opener

IND vs AUS: Ravindra Jadeja clears fitness test; Shreyas Iyer doubtful for Nagpur opener