Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here

Home > Features > Moments in history >

Shoaib Akhtar’s career-best 6 for 11 crushes New Zealand at Lahore

Shoaib Akhtar's career-best 6 for 11 crushes New Zealand at Lahore

Shoaib Akhtar hurtling down his unusually long run-up © AFP

On May 3, 2002, a freight train that went by the name of the Rawalpindi Express ran amok at the Gaddafi Stadium and crushed six hapless New Zealanders. Jaideep Vaidya revisits the carnage.

Ever since he stepped onto the scene in 1999 as a young, tall and exceptionally fast pace bowler, Shoaib Akhtar hurtling down his unusually long run-up, gathering speed with every stride before bombarding the batsman with what appeared like red or white blurs, was one of the most remarkable — or terrifying, depending on which way you see it — sights in world cricket.

When New Zealand toured Pakistan for a short series in 2002, it wasn’t as if they hadn’t faced Akhtar before. In Pakistan’s tour of Kiwiland the preceding year, Akhtar had helped crush Stephen Fleming‘s men in a One-Day International (ODI) with figures of five for 19. Cut back to the present tour, in the ODI series that preceded the Tests, New Zealand had just helped Akhtar record his best-ever figures of six for 16. Evidently, they had no clue whatsoever of how to counter him, his rib crackers and his toe crushers.

In the first Test at the Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore, Pakistan won the toss and elected to bat first on a batting paradise and a triple century from Inzamam-ul-Haq helped them pile on 643 in the first innings. There was no way the hosts were going to lose the match and the best the Kiwis could hope for was a draw, if they batted well. However, the Rawalpindi Express was having nothing of it.

The pitch may not have been conducive to fast bowling, but then that was only if you planned to pitch the ball on the surface. Akhtar was aiming for the batsmen’s feet, and he probably wanted to break a hole through them. First to go was opener Matt Horne, whose reflexes were far too slow for Akhtar’s inswinging yorker that crashed into his stumps. Mark Richardson and Lou Vincent hung around for about five overs before another yorker from Akhtar castled the left-handed opener. New Zealand skipper Fleming was to go in an action replay the same over to make it 19 for three; the TV broadcaster’s speed gun revealed that ball clocking 157kmph.

Chris Harris gave Akhtar his third wicket in 10 balls after an attempted drive was hours late to hit another scorching yorker at 154 kmph. The only difference this time was that it was the off-stump that was uprooted, and not middle. To the Kiwis’ schadenfreude, Akhtar limped off with a sprained ankle after losing his balance in his follow-through and did not bowl again that day. But that was not before he had caused enough damage to their furniture for the day, having claimed four for four in 25 balls, as New Zealand ended Day Two at 58 for six.

The next morning, Akhtar did not take the field at start of playas the Kiwi lower order heaved a sigh of relief. But it made no difference  as Saqlain Mushtaq got Daniel Vettori to get a top-edge that flew straight to mid-on, before WaqarYounis trapped Robbie Hart leg-before to make it 67 for eight. And to the horror of the Kiwi numbersnine and 10, Brooke Walker and Daryl Tuffey, Akhtar limped back onto the field, presumably to get his five-for.

Akhtar needed only eight deliveries to polish off the visitors for a paltry 73, giving Pakistan a humongous lead of 570. Akhtar finished with career-best figures of six for 11 in just 8.2 overs, besting his previous tally of five for 24 recorded a couple of months ago against the West Indies at Sharjah. As Wisden reported, it took his tally for the season to 23 wickets in five Tests at an average of 16.65 and a strike rate of 30.
Brutal, is the apt word.

Needless to say, Pakistan went on to win the Test by a huge margin — an innings and 324 runs, which was the fifth-highest win margin in Test history. You can bet your horses it would have been bigger had Akhtar bowled in the second innings.

Brief scores:

Pakistan 643 (Inzamam-ul-Haq 329, Imran Nazir 127; Craig McMillan 3 for 48) beat New Zealand 73 (Lou Vincent 21; Shoaib Akhtar 6 for 11) and 246 (Stephen Fleming 66, Lou Vincent 57; Danish Kaneria 5 for 110) by an innings and 324 runs.

(Jaideep Vaidya is a multiple sports buff and a writer at CricketCountry. He has a B.E. in Electronics Engineering, but that isn’t fooling anybody. He started writing on sports during his engineering course and fell in love with it. The best day of his life came on April 24, 1998, when he witnessed birthday boy Sachin Tendulkar pummel a Shane Warne-speared Aussie attack from the stands during the Sharjah Cup Final. A diehard Manchester United fan, you can follow him on Twitter @jaideepvaidya. He also writes a sports blog - The Mullygrubber )

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 21, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Abu Dhabi

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 22, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Sharjah

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 23, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Dubai

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 24, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Sharjah

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 25, 2014 (16:00 IST)   at Dubai

More

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 20, 2014  at Sharjah

Kings XI Punjab won by 7 wkts

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 19, 2014  at Dubai

Delhi Daredevils won by 4 wkts

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 19, 2014  at Dubai

Royal Challengers Bangalore won by 7 wkts

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 18, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

Rajasthan Royals won by 4 wkts

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 18, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

Kings XI Punjab won by 6 wkts

Photos

RR vs KXIP, IPL 2014 Match 7 at Sharjah

Videos

Rajasthan Royals' unusual strategy in IPL 2014

Glenn Maxwell, David Miller’s blazing innings help Kings XI Punjab cruise past Rajasthan Royals by 7 wickets in IPL 7

Praveen Kumar believes making comeback for India is not difficult

Saqlain Mushtaq: Samuel Badree, Sunil Narine are skilful cricketers

Miran Bakhsh: The second-oldest Test debutant

Indian cricketers and copycat marketing

Chennai Super Kings David Miller Delhi Daredevils England India IPL IPL 7 IPL 2014 Kings XI Punjab Kolkata Knight Riders Mumbai Indians Rajasthan Royals Royal Challengers Bangalore RR vs KXIP 2014 Virat Kohli

IPL 2014: Glenn Maxwell disappointed to leave run-chase unfinished

PCB didn’t pursue Rashid Latif owing to ECB pressure

Glenn Maxwell, David Miller’s blazing innings help Kings XI Punjab cruise past Rajasthan Royals by 7 wickets in IPL 7

Rajasthan Royals (RR) vs Kings XI Punjab (KXIP), IPL 2014: David Miller’s blitz puts Punjab in sight of victory

Cricket betting racket busted in Jaipur, 6 men arrested

Batsmen who have smashed last ball for six to win a game in the annals of One-Day Internationals

IPL 2014: Glenn Maxwell, David Miller form the core of Kings XI Punjab’s batting line-up

Praveen Kumar believes making comeback for India is not difficult

Saqlain Mushtaq: Samuel Badree, Sunil Narine are skilful cricketers

Miran Bakhsh: The second-oldest Test debutant

Fan of the Day

Fan Cricket

Fan Cricket

2 Posts | 0 Fans

Kolkata Knight Riders vs Delhi Daredevils IPL 2014 Match no 6 Video Highlights

HTC Desire 210 sub-Rs 10,000 smartphone in the works

IPL 2014: Sanju Samson credits Rahul Dravid’s mentoring in progress

5 reasons you’re not seeing results in the gym

Gibraltar fire stops global online betting

KXIP vs RR, IPL 2014: Maxwell and Miller seal another victory for Kings XI Punjab

Nike refutes FuelBand shutdown reports, says new color options incoming

I am unable to penetrate my wife (Sex Query of the day)

Soundarya Rajinikanth: I fulfilled my animation dream with Kochadaiiyaan

Also on cricketcountry.com