Shoaib Akhtar Birthday: Top bowling performances against India
Arguably the quickest pace bowler to grace the field, Pakistan’s rather controversial Shoaib Akhtar celebrates his birthday today, on 13 August. Also termed as the ‘Rawalpindi Express’, Shoaib Akhtar was famous for his lethal deliveries and some of his best performances came against arch-rivals India.
The battles between Shoaib Akhtar and Indian legends like Sachin Tendulkar were what every cricket fan wished for. From tormenting India on his debut, to going on to win several matches for Pakistan with his bowling, Akhtar had a short but glittering career. On his birthday, we take a look at his top spells against his arch nemesis India over the years:
4 for 47 vs India, Eden Gardens, 1999
Akhtar made a roaring impression when he took on India and dismantled their famed batting order. Pakistan batted first in this contest, but could never get going on a tricky pitch in 1999. They collapsed to 185. However, Shoaib Akhtar was in sensational form as he sliced through India’s middle order, and India were reduced to 223 runs in response. Akhtar picked up four wickets for 71 runs and this effort was bettered in the second innings when he ended with figures of 20.1-5-47-4. As a result of this performance, Pakistan won this thrilling match by 46 runs.
3 for 47 vs India, Rawalpindi, 2004
This was a do-or-die fixture for Pakistan back in 2004. Batting first, Pakistan were knocked over for 224. In response, the Indian batting hit their stride and their efforts were led by Rahul Dravid who amassed 270 runs and led India to 600.
All the Pakistan bowlers were rather ordinary, but Akhtar returned with figures of 3/47 and looked the most threatening.
4 for 58 vs India, Delhi, 2007
The fast bowler was in his element once again and this fine spell came in Delhi back in 2007. However, batting let him down as Pakistan lost the match quite convincingly in the end. India had to chase down just 203 runs in the last innings to script a victory.
Akhtar, however, had other ideas and he flew in to put the cat among the pigeons. He bagged the wickets of Dinesh Karthik, Wasim Jaffer, Rahul Dravid, and Sourav Ganguly. However, there was no support from the other end and India suffered no more jolts to win the match by six wickets.
4 for 36 vs India, Edgbaston, 2004
Akhtar troubled the Indian batting once again – this time in an ODI match. This was an encounter between India and Pakistan in the ICC Champions Trophy in Edgbaston back in 2004. India batted first and were knocked over for 200 in their 50 overs.
Shoaib Akhtar bowled with a lot of venom and fire and picked up four wickets while conceding just 36 runs in the bargain. Mohammad Yousuf stood tall in the chase and courtesy his knock of 81 runs, Pakistan won the match.
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