The 2002 Natwest Series victory simply did enough to change the course of the Indian cricket team. The series win not only marked the advent of several talented young cricketers but it also set up a concrete foundation for the future and upcoming group of players as well. One such player who displayed a courageous brand of cricket in the series was Yuvraj Singh.
Team India did manage to successfully chase a mammoth target of 326 in the final encounter but one must not forget how the Men in Blue reached there. It will probably not be an exaggeration to claim that India’s six-wicket victory against England in the triangular series fixture set the tone of the series and provided the Sourav Ganguly-led squad a much-needed confidence to lift the iconic trophy.
And Yuvraj pulled off a memorable match-winning all-round show in that game to improve his status from a young Indian cricketer to a dependable all-rounder.
Batting first England posted a defendable total of 271/7 in 50 overs. Yuvraj bowled seven overs in the match and scalped three wickets conceding just 39 runs. He managed to pick up the crucial wickets of England skipper Nasser Hussain (54 runs off 82 balls), all-rounder Andrew Flintoff (22 off 20 balls) and Graham Thorpe (12 off 15 deliveries) to emerge as his side’s highest wicket-taker in the match.
Team India, during the run chase, got off to a great start as skipper Sourav (43 off 67 balls) and Virender Sehwag (71 off 65 balls) stitched solid 107-run partnership. English spinner Ashley Giles provided a crucial breakthrough in the 18th over of the innings as he managed to send Sehwag back to the dressing room. Sehwag’s dismissal resulted in a collapse as the visitors lost their next three wickets within a span of just 32 runs.
Yuvraj came down to bat when India were reeling at 141/4. But he along with Rahul Dravid (73 not out off 86 balls) showed great composure as they notched a vital match-winning partnership of 131 runs. India ultimately reached the target with seven balls.
Yuvraj remained not out after playing a crucial knock off 64 off 65 balls. He had hit seven boundaries during his remarkable knock. Yuvraj was also adjudged Man of the Match for his terrific match-winning performance.