Chris Cairns on the 2000 ICC Champions Trophy final October 17, 2000

'I was only going to bowl five overs ...'



Chrsi Cairns celebrates victory over India © Cricinfo
Passing the fitness test that allowed me to play in the final of the ICC KnockOut tournament in Nairobi was the greatest relief for me and allowed me to partake of a great day.

With New Zealand never having been in a world one-day final this was an opportunity too great to miss out on, and that was a feeling we all shared. My fitness test was conducted by physio Mark Harrison the day before the final and I was relieved to be available for selection.

With Flem [captain Stephen Fleming] winning the toss we were in the field. Playing on a new wicket we felt the ball may move around a little early on. The only moving the ball did though was to the boundary as Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly gave an awesome display of batsmanship.

Bowling off a reduced run because of my knee, and consequently at less pace, definitely helped as the quicker bowlers were the ones coming on to the bat and disappearing even faster. I was only going to bowl five overs but felt good enough to keep going and in doing so managed to give Flem some options to try and contain the Indians.

With Nathan [Astle] bowling well and Scott Styris continuing his great form we pulled round a disastrous situation to have India at 264 at the end of the 50 overs. It was a courageous performance in the field because the way the Indians started 300 was on the cards.

We lost two early wickets and this brought Roger [Twose] and Nathan together again. As they did in the game against Pakistan, they combined to get us back on track. When Nath was out to Anil Kumble I went in in the 14th over. The score was 82 and because of the fast rate it meant that I could get myself in and not have to worry too much about the scoring rate.

Those thoughts were altered when we lost Roger and Craig Mac [McMillan] and Harry [Chris Harris] came in to join me. It was great batting with my old mate although when he first comes in he's like a cat on a hot tin roof!

We had to absorb some pressure in the middle of the innings as we both knew we had to be there at the 40th over if we were to have a chance of winning.

Coming into the 40th, we needed 70 runs and both Harry and I felt confident. Although balls were slipping away and the runs mounting, we still felt comfortable as the boundaries were small on the Gymkhana ground and we knew that if need be 10 an over was gettable.

As it was we had a couple of good overs and even when Harry got out we still had Adam (Parore) and Scott Styris to come so I was still very confident at 11 runs off nine balls.

Three balls from Venkatesh Prasad to Adam gave us eight runs and from there we were home. Hitting the winning runs and helping us to victory was the stuff dreams are made of, and just an amazing feeling.

The celebrations were great and the scene in the dressing room magical.

And they were not the reason for the delay in this column. That occurred because after arriving in Johannesburg and checking the CricInfo site, I found that the hotel in Kenya had obviously not sent on my fax to New Zealand. So here we are, finally, after a wonderful day for us all.

The enduring memory I will have from it will be the sense of pride and joy that I know washed over us all when we saw Flem hold aloft the victory trophy.