The Natwest series final between India and England in 2002 is widely regarded as one of the greatest ODI matches. India had registered a heart-wrecking 2-wicket victory in that match while chasing England’s mammoth target of 325.
At one point in time, the Men in Blue were tottering at 146 for 5 but Yuvraj Singh and Mohammad Kaif were on a different mission as the duo added 121-run for the sixth wicket to change the complexion of the match. While Yuvi scored a blistering 63-ball 69, Kaif remained unbeaten on 75-ball 87 to guide India home with 3 balls to spare.
The Natwest final 2002 also became iconic as India’s then skipper Sourav Ganguly had taken his shirt off at the Lord’s balcony after the victory. Ganguly’s antics had left the entire cricket fraternity stunned.
Ahead of the second ODI between England and India at Lord’s, Ganguly has said that Virat Kohli and company will replicate the feat of Natwest 2002 at the 'Mecca of Cricket' on this occasion.
After bossing the T20I series, the Men in Blue recorded a thumping 8-wicket victory over England in the first ODI at Trent Bridge on Thursday (July 12).
“India will surely win the series at Lord's like we did in 2002,” Ganguly told India TV.
“In the four matches India have played so far, three games have been one-sided. They have been thrashing the hosts. In the three-matches they have won, at least one batsman has scored a ton. Cardiff was different because of the conditions, but on these pitches, it's not easy to get them out. If England don't study Kuldeep properly, it will be another one-sided affair,” he added.
According to Ganguly, Kuldeep has intimidated the English batsman the most on the tour and the hosts batsmen start to panic when India introduce wrist spinners into the attack. Kuldeep has claimed a six-wicket haul in the Nottingham ODI. Jason Roy (38), Jonny Bairstow (38), Joe Root (3), Ben Buttler (53) and David Willey (1) were Yadav’s victims in the match as England got bundled out for 268 in 49.5 overs.
“Kuldeep's presence has intimidated the Englishmen. Ever since his performance in Manchester (first T20I), England panic when he comes around. There's not much difference between him and Chahal. One's a right-armer and the other is a left, but the way the batsmen see them, it makes a huge difference in the game,” Dada remarked.
“There's still plenty of games to play (2 ODIs and 5 Tests) and I hope that he (Kuldeep) continues to daunt them. If they continue to bat like this, there's no coming back,” he elaborated.
Apart from Kuldeep, Rohit Sharma has also proved to be a nightmare for the hosts. After dominating the T20I series with a ton at Bristol, Sharma scored a scintillating 137* in the Trent Bridge ODI.
Hailing Rohit’s batting on this tour, Ganguly said: “Class batting by Rohit. It was only time that would tell a different tale and Rohit has come out with some amazing innings. The timing of the shots, the sixes and when players like him stick on, they'll go all the way. The difference between the two sides have been the top order batsmen.”
“In the limited-overs format, after Virat Kohli, the most valuable player has been Rohit. And I still believe that there's enough time for Rohit to make a major impact in Test cricket. There's a saying, 'One afternoon makes somebody a hero'. One innings is all it takes,” he concluded.