‘Even Shah Rukh Khan went mad’ – Shoaib Akhtar recollects his match-winning spell for KKR in 2008
Shoaib's spell helped KKR to a 23-run win against the Delhi Daredevils.
Updated - Feb 14, 2020 5:26 pm
Back in 2008, Shoaib Akhtar had the privilege of representing the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the inaugural edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL). In that season, the Rawalpindi Express played only three games, but managed to leave his imprints in the limited chances. In the game against Delhi Daredevils, Shoaib cranked up the pace and became the Player of the Match.
With KKR defending 133 at the Eden Gardens, Shoaib ran through their top order. He eventually finished with a spell of 3-0-11-4 that took the hosts to a 23-run victory in Kolkata. It’s been almost 12 years since the spell of bowling, but Akhtar’s memories of the same are pretty afresh. He also remembers how Shah Rukh Khan, the team owner was cock-a-hoop during the game.
Shoaib goes down the memory lane
“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,” Shoaib was quoted as saying in Hindustan Times.
Akhtar removed Virender Sehwag for a golden duck to start the carnage. Then he pinned the other opener, Gautam Gambhir, with a vicious bouncer. AB de Villiers and Manoj Tiwary also had no clue of the thunderbolts hurled by the former Pakistan fast bowler.
His spell reduced the Daredevils to 28 for four and the visitors were shot out for 110 in 17.5 overs. Sourav Ganguly, the then KKR captain also spoke about leading the veteran fast bowler. But Ganguly was unhappy as despite the strong show, KKR couldn’t do well that season.
“I knew Shoaib’s blistering pace was bound to make a difference in the shortest format. In fact it did. We knocked out Sehwag’s belligerent Delhi splendidly as the Rawalpindi Express cleaned them up, and Eden roared in delight. Shoaib took four wickets for 11 runs and we won a low-scoring match.
It was one of our most memorable wins but we could not sustain it,” Ganguly wrote in his book. In the 2008 IPL, Shoaib managed five wickets at an economy of 7.71. After 2008, Shoaib never got a chance to play in the T20 league owing to the constant tensions between India and Pakistan.