Harsha Bhogle recalls Natwest 2002 final
Harsha Bhogle was in a reminiscent mood today morning, like a lot of us might be. After all, it’s 14 years to the day that India recorded one of the most famous wins in cricket history, and more so, one of its most iconic wins ever. The setting was Lord’s, the home of cricket, on a cloudy Saturday as rivals England and India faced up to each other to fight for the trophy in a closely fought tri-series with Sri Lanka.
What ensued was a thrilling 99.3 overs of hard fought one-day cricket with India coming out on top. While recalling the occasion, context is almost as important as anything. Back in 2002, ODI cricket was the most exciting format of the game. Yet still, a score of 250 in 50 overs would be enough to challenge most opponents. Far from today’s world where 250 is chased down in 20 overs, India needed 326 to win off their 300 balls. It was never going to be easy.
England batted first and scored runs at a brisk pace. Marcus Trescothik and Nasser Hussain scored a 100 each and Harsha recalled the latter’s reaction after scoring his century. There was a lot of clamour that he didn’t deserve to bat at that position and responded in perfection fashion, signalling angrily to the commentary box after reaching the figure. England posted a mammoth 325 on the board.
For India to win, they would have to chase down 326, something that had never been achieved at that stage. Sri Lanka came closest in the past, falling 4 runs short chasing 333 against the West Indies in 1995. England must have surely felt the win was in the bag when they reduced the visitors to 146 – 5 before Yuvraj Singh and Mohammad Kaif stiched together a magical partnership, etching their names in Indian folklore and helping their team achieve the impossible.
Harsha described the match in a way that only he could, recalling each incident like it was yesterday, from Nasser Hussain’s reaction to Sourav Ganguly waving his jersey after the win and everything that happened in between too. He went into finer details describing how Yuvraj never took off his pads after getting dismissed and evaded the gatekeeper to rush to the ground, how Navjot Singh SIdhu had a fascinating interaction with Geoffrey Boycott in the commentary box.
He saved the best of last, mentioning that former India captain Sourav Ganguly was often embarrassed by what he did that day, but adds that it will be one of the things he’s remembered for in history.
Read his full description of that magical day 14 years ago: