Looking back: Fiery Akhtar turns heat on Australia


8-1-25-5. Shoaib Akhtar’s fiery spell in Woolloongabba, Brisbane on 19th June 2002 sealed the three-match One-Day International series against Australia in favour of Pakistan.

After losing the first match comprehensively by seven wickets, Pakistan, with the help of Shoaib Akhtar, came from behind to win the final two one-dayers, and in the process clinched the Super Challenge Series 2-1.

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Though Pakistan had just managed to win in the second one-dayer, after a batting collapse had almost let their bowlers down. It was young Younis Khan who kept one end safe and ensured that they reached the target with two wickets still in hand.

However, the final in Brisbane was turned into a one-sided contest and Australia were forced out of the contest way too early by none other than the Rawalpindi Express. Cricketing experts and commentators were all in awe of Akhtar’s pace.

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Agha Akbar, who currently serves as a media manager in the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), described the Rawalpindi Express’ furious spell in a match report for ESPNcricinfo in following words:

“Shoaib’s pace and accuracy was too hot to handle. Other than Jason Gillespie, four out of his five victims were top batsmen; three were either bowled or leg before.

“A testament to his precision. And the way he got Michael Bevan, shuffling back to freeze at the crease and guiding the ball to the ‘keeper, reflects the awe he inspires even in the best batsmen.”