When the IPL took off in 2008 , the ” Rawalpindi Express” was in the autumn of his career . Shoaib Akhtar was nursing injuries when KKR management in search of some bowling firepower got in touch with him and finally got him into the squad.
The match against a highly powerful Delhi Daredevils led by Virender Sehwag and boasting of batsmen like Gautam Gambhir , AB de Villiers , Tilakratne Dilshan & Kolkata based Manoj Tiwari , was to be played at Eden Gardens . The KKR captain Sourav Ganguly took the decision to play Shoaib in this game.
KKR batted first and scored only 133/6 in 20 overs in the face of some accurate Delhi bowling in a slowish pitch . That target of 134 looked very well within the reach of that powerful batting lineup as mentioned above. Hence the KKR captain needed to start taking wickets straightaway to have any chance of winning.
Shoaib Akhtar was given the ball and the very first ball bowled to Sehwag was at scorching pace around 149 kph. Sehwag (0) slashed at it was beaten for pace and the edge carried to Saha . Huge wicket for KKR and and the 70,000 strong crowd at Eden was roaring their lungs out.
Gambhir (10) was in good form in that IPL & he decided to take on Shoaib by cutting him over point but the tall David Hussey pouched it . Thus ball was delivered at 144 kph and the crowd went wild . Delhi now 17/2.
AB de Villiers (7) was still there , who can singlehandedly cruise past the small target . Shoaib bounced him at 145 kph , de Villiers went for the hook , beaten for pace , top edged and easily taken by Taibu at squareleg . The Eden gardens exploded as they knew the big dangerman is gone. 28/3 Delhi.
Local boy Manoj Tiwari was in next but Shoaib’s 149 kph thunderbolt proved too much for him as the incoming ball thudded into his pads and Daredevils slumped further to 28/4 . The Eden Gardens was exploding in delight as they had seen a special bowling spell from the ” Rawalpindi express” who extracted vicious pace from a slowish wicket to totally rattle the powerful Delhi top order all on his own.
Delhi never recovered from that searing 3 over 4 wickets for 11 runs Shoaib spell . There was a partnership between Dilshan and Amit Mishra but later Laxmi Ratan Shukla (3/6) ensured no further recovery from the opposition as Delhi were bundled out for 110 to lose by 23 runs in a pulsating game.
Watch that fiery spell of Shoaib