Team India have registered many memorable wins over the years and the 2002 NatWest final is one of the most memorable ones which will always be special in the history of Indian cricket. After losing 5 wickets for within 146 runs, India successfully chased down a mammoth total of 326 runs set by England at the Lord’s Cricket Ground.
The game witnessed the birth of a redefined and upgraded version of the Indian team, which was ready to take on every challenge in their way to be the winner. Mohammad Kaif and Yuvraj Singh were among those youngsters who turned the table when all the hopes in the world were lost.
They built a partnership of 121 runs but 59 runs were still required when Yuvraj Singh got out in the 42nd over. But Mohammad Kaif stayed in the middle and made July 13, 2002, special for everyone including him. India registered the victory by 2 wickets while Mohammed Kaif winning Player-of-the-Match award for his unbeaten 87.
Mohammad Kaif has said that the day “changed his life” and he wanted to make it memorable. Thus he thought to retire on the same date in 2018. Kaif also added that India back then was also desperate to break the jinx of losing in the finals. However, he also shared that they were dejected after seeing the target of 325 runs on the board but they tried their best to reach the total and did it as well.
“July 13 will always be close to my heart. It changed my life. I wanted to make that day memorable, so I announced my retirement on July 13, 2018. It will always remain a special day for me…,” Mohammad Kaif told Sportstar.
“It was a completely new situation for me. I hadn’t faced something like that before, where you were playing a crucial final. Back then, there was a trend that India would qualify for the final but would eventually miss out on the title. It appeared that we were the best team till the final, but somehow things would go incredibly wrong in the last hurdle, so we were desperate to break the jinx,” he recalled.
“Ahead of the final, there were a lot of discussions on how to tame the home team. But in the end, all that meant very little as England posted a mammoth 325. Those were the days when anything above 300 looked like an uphill task. So, as England piled on the runs, the Indian camp looked dejected and we knew that we failed to get the monkey off our back. After all, who would have thought that we could script a turnaround!” Mohammad Kaif concluded.