Yuvraj Singh and Mohammad Kaif v England, 69 and 87 not out - 10 Great Innings

So again we're bending the rules. It's two players.

It was the final of the Natwest Series, a one-day competition featuring England, India and Sri Lanka. Amazingly, England had got to the final. Even more amazingly, they had set India 326 to win off 50 overs. Marcus Trescothick hit a hundred and so did Nasser Hussain. It was Hussain's only one-day hundred and the occasion when he 'gestured' at the press. It was something about batting at three. It was all a bit vague.

India started their reply reasonably well, but eventually fell to 146-5. They were 180 runs adrift with two young middle-order batsmen at the crease, Yuvraj Singh, then 20 and Mohammad Kaif, then 21. Perhaps England felt they'd done the hard work by getting down to India's sixth and seventh batsmen; two relative novices. If they thought they'd won the game, they were wrong.

What followed were two of the most perfect one-day innings imaginable. They were the kinds of innings that would be jaw-dropping if they came from 200 cap veterans. They were calm, played themselves in and raised their tempo as the run-rate climbed. Many a player before and since would have balked at the target and given up. Not these two.

Yuvraj Singh was out for 69, but Mohammad Kaif saw India home with 87 not out. Any batsman could have picked up tips as to how to go about a run-chase. These unflappable wise men were 20 and 21.

10 Great Innings

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Tuesday, May 01, 2012

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