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Emergence of Yuvraj Singh from a Young Player to a Star All-rounder

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2002 NatWest Trophy victory holds a special place in the mind of every India Cricket fan. In hindsight, when we look at it, we realize that it wasn’t just any other tournament but an announcement of the arrival of the new Indian team – one which was ready to take over the world and was not afraid of any challenge.

The visuals of Sourav Ganguly waving his jersey from the balcony of Lord’s still have the power to give goosebumps. But today, we aren’t talking about the final game, but we will look at the match where it all started. India’s first match of the series was up and against England on June 29, 2002. The match saw the emergence of Yuvraj Singh from a young player to a star as his all-around performance took India to victory against the mighty England side.

Winning the toss, England’s captain Nasser Hussain decided to bat first as he wanted to put pressure on the visitors. Things started as England had planned, and the opening pair of Marcus Trescothick and Nick Knight gave the team a stable start. However, the first of England’s wickets fell in the 13th over as Knight was run out at the score of 31.

In came English skipper Hussain who joined Trescothick in taking the score forward. The two built a partnership and took their team to 153 before Ganguly managed to dismiss Trescothick in 26th over. But again, England started getting momentum with the partnership between Andrew Flintoff and Hussain.

India desperately needed wickets to stop the English side. It was at the that point when Ganguly tossed the ball to young Yuvraj Singh and brought him in the attack. Yuvraj proved his captain right as he dismissed Flintoff in the 34th over. Then, again in the 38th over, he got another success in the form of Graham Thrope’s wicket that was followed by the wicket of Hussain in 40th over. Yuvraj picked 3 quick wickets and helped his team to restrict England to a total of 271/7 in their allotted 50 overs.

In reply, India had a pretty decent start and the opening pair of Ganguly and Virendra Sehwag put up a 109 run-partnership before Sehwag (71) was dismissed in the 17th over. But then the team lost 3 wickets in quick succession and got itself into an under-pressure situation.

As the 4th wicket fell in the form of Ganguly (43), Yuvraj walked in to join Rahul Dravid at the crease. The two started building a stable partnership and cruised their way out of the sticky situation and took India to victory with 7 balls remaining at the end. While Dravid finished at 73 not-out, Yuvraj made an unbeaten 64 off 65 deliveries.

Yuvraj was awarded the man of the match title.

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