The stage was set for Shoaib Akhtar’s debut in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and he couldn’t have asked for a more fairytale beginning. The Rawalpindi Express wreaked havoc with his breathtaking pace, emerging as the best player from the contest that took place on this day back in 2008.
Defending a below par target of 134 against Delhi Daredevils at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata, the hosts required something special from the speedster to justify his $425,000 (Rs.1.7 crore) price tag and he did it with flying colours.
Spearheading the KKR attack it took Akhtar just two deliveries to pick his first IPL wicket. Virender Sehwag was the man to be dismissed after being left guessing as he nicked the ball straight into the gloves of India Test specialist Wriddihiman Saha.
Gautam Gambhir’s brief resistance also came to an end as he was removed by the former Pakistani pacer in his second over. What followed next was a disaster for the visitors as Akhtar struck twice in consecutive deliveries to remove AB de Villiers and Manoj Tiwary, helping KKR gain full control of the proceedings.
Akhtar missed out on a hattrick but his dream debut in IPL still counts as one of the best show the Delhi vs Kolkata fixture has ever produced. His bowling figures read: 4/11 in 3 overs (all coming during the Powerplay).
Recollecting the memories from the clash, the Rawalpindi Express stated that his performance on that day made Shahrukh Khan, co-owner of the KKR franchise, mad and it felt like he had won the World Cup.
“When I took 4 wickets, everyone went mad. Even Shah Rukh was running all over the ground, he went mad and was delirious. I thought did I win the world cup, such was the frenzy all around. Shah Rukh said you have won a very big match for us,” Akhtar was quoted by Hindustan Times as saying.
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