On October 14, 1989, Wasim Akram single-handedly bowled Pakistan to victory against the West Indies at Sharjah by claiming a hat-trick. He became the fourth bowler in the history of One-Day International (ODI) cricket to achieve the rare feat. Sarang Bhalerao revisits Akram’s mesmerising spell.
He had a short run-up, but the batsmen could not take him lightly. They had to consider the beguiling repertoire to appreciate the rare bowling acumen of this left-arm fast bowler. On this day in 1989, the West Indies got a taste of his mastery. Needing 42 to win at under seven runs per over with five wickets in hand, the contest was evenly poised. But, Wasim Akram charged into to deliver three marvelous deliveries and change the complexion of the game.
Jeff Dujon geared up to face Akram, who was bowling round the wicket. The ball started well outside the off-stump which lit-up Dujon’s eyes. The ball swung in prodigiously and yorked the West Indies wicketkeeper. The stumps were dislodged and the partisan Pakistani crowd was joyous in the stands.
Malcolm Marshall was the new man at the crease. Wasim was still bowling round the wicket. The first delivery to Marshall seemed to be a length delivery — which the batsman thought was an opportunity to execute a cover drive. Marshall was drawn forward by the left-arm bowler. The ball swung in an exaggerated manner and knocked his leg-stump.
Curtly Ambrose, the left-handed batsman walked out to bat. Akram immediately switched to over the wicket. Ambrose was hoodwinked by the delivery that went away from him. The ball pitched on the middle stump and hit the top of off. This was the second hat-trick where all batsmen were clean bowled. Chetan Sharma was the first one to achieve it. He got it during a 1987 World Cup game against New Zealand at Nagpur.
West Indies were behind the eight ball. Carlisle Best was waging a lone battle. Earlier, a half-century by Desmond Haynes (59) got West Indies off to a good start. Haynes and Richie Richardson put on 85 for the second wicket. At 117 for one, West Indies looked comfortable during the run-chase. But they lost Richardson, Keith Arthurton and Haynes in the space of seven runs. Viv Richards, the West Indies skipper produced an attacking 46 off 45 balls and stitched 61 for the fifth wicket. His wicket gave Pakistan a hope of a victory.
Akram changed the complexion of the game with his fiery spell. The hat-trick stalled the West Indian momentum completely. He got Courtney Walsh bowled with the delivery that left him after pitching on the middle-stump. West Indies surely were stunned by Akram’s magical spell.
Pakistan 250 for 8 in 50 overs (Shoaib Mohammad 45, Saleem Malik 74, Imran Khan 45; Ian Bishop 3 for 49) beat West Indies 239 in 48.4 overs (Desmond Haynes 59, Carlisle Best 53*; Wasim Akram 5 for 38) by 11 runs.
Man of the Match: Wasim Akram
(Sarang Bhalerao hails from a family of doctors, but did his engineering. He then dumped a career in IT with Infosys to follow his heart and passion and became a writer with CricketCountry. A voracious reader, Sarang aspires to beat Google with his knowledge of the game! You can follow him on Twitter here)