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Shoaib Akhtar once killed all courage of Ricky Ponting, the former Australian captain. Akhtar was the part of the formidable Pakistan bowling department comprising of Wasim Akhtar, captain Waqar Younis and Akhtar himself.
Ricky Ponting, who already has established his footprint in international cricket, looked shaky at the bouncy Gabba, Brisbane in 2002 when Pakistan was touring Australia for three matches ODI series.
Pakistan had restored the parity in the series in the second ODI where Australia toppled in 167 and lost the match by 2 wickets at Docklands, Melbourne.
So in the final ODI, Shoaib Akhtar instilled fear among the Australia batting line-up with ferocious fast bowling spell. He picked up five wickets conceding 25 runs in 8 overs.
Pakistan batting first scored a competitive 256 runs. Imran Nazir had shepherd Pakistan’s inning with 66 run innings against a formidable Australia bowling attack comprised of Glenn McGrath, Jason Gillespie, and Andy Bichel.
But, Pakistan middle order failed to capitalize on the top order’s outstanding job. From 108 for 2 Pakistan lost their next 5 wickets in 60 runs. Shane Warne has trapped Inzamam-ul-Haq LBW that led Pakistan’s middle order to crushed. However, Wasim Akram played a cameo innings of 49 off 32 balls, including two towering six over McGrath’s head that helped Pakistan to post a predictable on board.
But, when Australia came to chase, Shoaib Akhtar was proved too fast for them. Aussie batsmen crawled when Shoaib rattled them with bounce and couple of 150 km/h deliveries. Australia lost their first wicket Matthew Hayden for 17 runs. Captain Ricky Ponting was bemused in front of Shoaib. Fear was reflecting on Ponting’s face. Shoaib increased the pace with the each delivery of the 11th over. Ponting was looking for single to get rid of Akhtar. But, after playing first three deliveries Ponting faced the 148.7 km/h which even wicketkeeper Rashid Latif failed to collect.
The fifth delivery was 152 km/h which Ponting tried to play through the cover region, but the ball took an edge and gone to slip fielder Inzamam-ul-Haq. Ponting survived as the ball was dropped before going into the hand of Inzamam. But, on the 6th ball Shoaib gave toe crusher, Ponting tried to play across the line, but Ponting was castled. After Ponting, Lehman wandered too far across his crease, Damien Martyn failed to control a cut. Shoaib had three wickets in three overs. When Michael Bevan nicked a leg cutter the match was all over. Shane Watson and Warne built a 57, but Australia lacked an innings like Wasim Akram played. They did not get one. So they lost the match by 91 runs. Pakistan had won the series 2-1.
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