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IPL 2021: When Shoaib Akhtar Turned Up the Heat at Eden Garden

IPL 2021: When Shoaib Akhtar Turned Up the Heat at Eden Garden

It took Akhtar just two deliveries to get rid of DD opener Virender Sehwag as the former Indian opener was dismissed on a Golden Duck.

Back in 2008, the excitement for the Indian Premier League (IPL) knew no bounds in the cricketing world. To witness players from all around the world playing together was something no cricket fan would want to miss.

Amid all this, Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) had turned out to be the biggest attraction in the cash-rich league. Owned by Shah Rukh Khan, led by the local hero Sourav Gangulyand to top it, Brendon McCullum’s blitzkrieg innings of 158 in the inaugural match had just set the KKR’stone for the entire tournament.

However, following defeats after a few games, Ganguly’s side was looking for a change in momentum. Rubbing salt to the wounds of the KKR fan base, the Rawalpindi Express aka Shoaib Akhtar was not allowed to participate in the tournament owing to a ban imposed by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).

But just before KKR were scheduled to play Delhi Capitals, formerly known as Delhi Daredevils on May 13, 2008, Shoaib was cleared by PCB and allowed to participate in the league. However, despite winning the toss and opting to bat first, KKR only managed to post 133 for 6 banking on Salman Butt’s 44-ball 48.

However, the tables soon turned in KKR’s favor in the second innings as Shoaib ran through the DD’s top order. It took Akhtar just two deliveries to get rid of DD opener Virender Sehwag as the former Indian opener was dismissed on a Golden Duck after he edged a full-length delivery to wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha.

Shoaib did not take much time as he got rid of Gautam Gambhir in his second over. The left-handed batsman trying to slash a short outside off delivery was caught by David Hussey at backward point.

In his third over, the Rawalpindi Express produced a double whammy as he dismissed the dangerous AB de Villiers and Manoj Tiwary in back-to-back deliveries. Though Shoaib could not get his hattrick, his four blows removed the steam from DD’s chase and the side was eventually bundled out for just 110, with the Rawalpindi Express being adjudged the Man of the Match for his excellent figure of four for 11.

Although he played only two more games where he managed to pick just one wicket, Shoaib’s debut spell for KKR is one that will be cherished for a long time.