July 13, 2002 is one of the most nervous days Ashish Nehra has ever experienced in international cricket
For, he was the last man scheduled to come out to bat as India successfully chased down England’s mammoth target of 326 in the NatWest Series final at Lord’s.
However, Nehra’s services were not required as Sourav Ganguly’s boys scampered home with two wickets in hand and three balls to spare. With India staring defeat at 146 for five, young guns Yuvraj Singh (69) and Mohammad Kaif (87 not out) added a crucial 121 for the sixth wicket. Once Yuvraj was dismissed, Andrew Flintoff tilted the balance in England’s favour again. With the visitors now needing 11 from two overs, Kaif further reduced the equation to two runs off six balls. Zaheer Khan stole the winning runs with three balls to go.
Meanwhile, Nehra, who was in the dressing room, admitted he was nervous. “It was a very tense situation. I was very nervous, but was also prepared for the challenge. I was positive about winning the game,” Nehra told MiD DAY yesterday. “I knew my chance to bat wouldn’t come because I was confident they (Kaif and Zaheer) will win it for us. Yuvraj and Kaif gave us the belief that we can chase this total. It doesn’t matter whether I was in the middle or no. It was a great win,” said Nehra, who felt that the win changed the face of Indian cricket.
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