Cricket Classics

India v England, 6th ODI, 2002, Mumbai

Monday, January 14, 2022
Sportz Interactive
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When: February 3, 2022
Where: Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai
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There are some moments on the cricket field which are etched in our memories forever. Actions those happen in the spur of a moment are always special and they get associated in such a way that sometimes they are referred by that ‘extra-ordinary moment.’
This final match of the bi-lateral series between England and India is remembered as much for the late strike back by the English bowlers and the sudden collapse by the Indians as for the celebratory jig by all-rounder Andrew Flintoff.

SERIES BRUSH-UP

  • India led the 6-match series 3-2.
  • England had lost both the previous day/night encounters. This was the third match under lights.
  • Considering the volatile nature the Wankhede ODI was insured for a whopping Rs. 4.75 crore.
  • The stage was set for a fitting finale and the venue was Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium. For every team that tours India, Wankhede Stadium and Eden Gardens in Kolkata hold special distinction due to its rich history and the stirring atmosphere that the crowds generate. 

    Agog crowd   

    Long serpentine queues that started twenty-four hours before the ticket sales, lathi charge (canning), black marketing and sky high pricing - Mumbai cricket fans had endured all to see their demi-gods perform before them and achieve a win to spark the nation wide celebrations.

    With India leading the series, the cricket fans packed the stadium early sensing that home team will clinch the series. A huge hubbub was followed as two captains Nasser Hussain and Sourav Ganguly walked in for the toss. Hussain called the right side of the coin and elected to bat first in the final game that was to be played under lights, over looking the dew factor. 


    © AFP
    Sourav Ganguly and Nasser Hussain shared the honours of the 6-match ODI series

    Hussain leads the pack

    The visitors got off to a bad start losing the southpaw Nick Knight for a blob edging to Ratra off Srinath off the very first over. The early dismissal brought captain Hussain requiring to play a captain’s innings. The right hander set the tone for the rest of the batsmen who followed with a brilliant partnership of 87 runs with Trescothick. 

    It turned to be a battle between the captains as Ganguly introduced himself in the attack. It was the Prince of Kolkata, who gave India their major breakthrough by dismissing the English skipper for 41. England benefited greatly by the partnership as they maintained a brisk run-rate. At 152-2 it looked liked the visitors would cruise past 300. 

    Trescothick was dropped on the very first ball of the innings and he made most of the opportunity to bring up his half-century. The right-hander was in sublime form belting the Indian bowlers. India made their way back into the game claiming quick wickets to reduce the visitors for 174-7.  

    Freddie to the rescue

    Trescothik (94) missed out on the century as he carried on his flamboyant form to spoon a simple catch to off-spinner Harbhajan Singh off his own bowling. Andrew Flintoff, who has rescued England from similar situations, once again played an innings of his character. The all-rounder scored 40 vital runs towards the end with tail enders to help England reach 255-5.
     

    FINER POINTS

  • Trescothick's 95 was his first and only score in the nervous nineties.
  • Harbhajan Singh became the 17th Indian bowler to take 50 wickets in ODIs. He also became the quickest Indian spinner to achieve the milestone. 
  • Harbhajan's 5-43 was his maiden five-wicket haul and the best performance by an Indian spinner against England.
  • Srinath uses his experience 

    Indian bowlers did well in the end to restrict England to 255 especially after the threatening start by the English top-order. Javagal Srinath was the most economical of the Indian bowlers conceding just 34 from his 8 overs. Ajit Agarkar was once again taken to the cleaners giving away 42 runs from five overs. Although, the total was nowhere near the expected, England still had a chance as playing under the lights at Wankhede can get tricky. 

    The kind of reception that Sachin Tenulkar, Mumbai’s very own star batsman generates is enough to break down the morale of the rival teams. With Sehwag at the other end, England had arguably the most devastating opening pair in the world to bowl to. India got off to a flying start with Sachin looking in imperious form at his home ground slamming Caddick for a six in his second over to bring the house down. 

    International cricket can be cruel and contrasting at time as the master-blaster was out caught behind on 12 off Gough. The boisterous vehement Wankhede crowd came to a standstill as the Mumbai-bomber made his way back to the dressing room. Gough gave England just the wicket that doctor ordered. Sourav Ganguly joined Sehwag at to help India build their first major partnership. The 52-runs stand was broken as Sehwag was dismissed for quick fire 31. Another left-hander Dinesh Mongia joined Ganguly and the two looked in good touch to help hosts take past 150.  

    IMPACT PLAYER

    Andrew Flintoff: 40 runs (50 balls 4 fours, 1 six ) 9.5-1-38-3

    Sourav Ganguly, Marcus Trescothick and Harbhajan Singh all contributed to make this game a gripping contest but Flintoff stood out with his all-round performance.

    His vital 40 runs helped England steer to 255 from 174-6. Freddie executed the job of an all-rounder to perfection cleaning up the Indian tail order with excellent fielding and tight bowling in his last over to clinch a memorable win.
    Indian batsmen lose their way

    With just 100 runs required and seven wickets in hand, the home team looked on course to clinch the series. Dinesh Mongia, who played a risk free innings, charged down the wicket to Vaughan only to find his stumps rattled by Foster for 35. Ganguly dragged the ball back on the stumps trying to sweep Giles. He departed for a classy 80 but would repent that he didn’t finish the job for his team. The game took a turn and India were reeling at 224-7.

    Dramatic finish

    Unpredictability is the essence of One-day cricket and the game that looked in India’s grip until five overs back was suddenly wide open. A close finish for the finals was on the cards with the home team needing 20 runs of 16 balls. Harbhajan Singh, who can throw his bat around for a few crucial runs in such situations failed to contribute and was out for five.
    With six runs required off Fintoff’s last over and two wickets in hand it promised to be a nerve-wracking affair. 

    The first three balls yielded three five runs and the home team had a tough task to score six runs of the last three balls of the series decider. A boundary was what the crowds wanted and in a dramatic fashion Anil Kumble was run out trying to steal a close single. Kumble was run-out for 5 by Flintoff at the striker’s end which meant that Badani was stranded at the bowler’s end. The English team sensed victory and Flintoff who was fully pumped up cleaned up the last man Srinath off his first ball. 


    © AFP
    The English boys pulled a rabbit out of the hat after they were 1-3 down in the series at one stage

    Flintoff - the finisher

    Flintoff was the wrecker in chief as he sealed victory for England from the jaws of defeat. The home team in a turnaround of events lost the final game to squander the lead they had. England held their nerves till the last moment to win an intently fought game. 

    Deafening atmosphere turned into eerie silence as Flintoff ran all over the park with a sense of achievement in his eye, a joy of squaring the series and whirling the t-shirt in one hand to indicate England’s victory.  

    Brief Summary
    England
    255 (Trescothick 95, Flintoff 40, Harbhajan 5/43) & India 250 (Ganguly 80, D Mongia 35, Flintoff 3/38)

    Relive the magic

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