Jubilant Akhtar laments lost hat-trick
The "Rawalpindi Express" achieved everything he wanted to out of his stunning bowling spell against New Zealand on Monday ... except for the elusive hat-trick.india Updated: Dec 29, 2003 14:51 IST
The "Rawalpindi Express" achieved everything he wanted to out of his stunning bowling spell against New Zealand on Monday ... except for the elusive hat-trick.
Shoaib Ahktar, who has made a habit of terrorising New Zealand batsmen, bowled Pakistan within sight of a series victory with another unplayable spell in the second Test at the Basin Reserve.
His haul of six for 30 to spark a New Zealand collapse of seven wickets for just eight runs gave him match figures of 11 for 78.
He is a certainty for the man of the match award when Pakistan knock off the 28 more runs they need for victory.
Akhtar now has 17 wickets from two tests against New Zealand at 5.24 runs apiece after a match-winning six for 11 inflicted the Black Caps' last test loss in Lahore 18 months ago.
But for all his success, he regrets not snaring Craig McMillan's wicket for his first international hat-trick.
It was brute of an in-swinging yorker which McMillan somehow kept out after Mark Richardson and Scott Styris had folded in the previous two balls.
"I always wish for it, and I've missed my hat-trick about 12 times now. I try to make it happen. I was thinking it was my last chance for a while," said Akhtar, whose brand of fast bowling has earned him the nickname the "Rawalpindi Express".
"It wasn't a bad hat-trick ball though, but he survived. I am just so unfortunate, I never get a hat-trick.
"McMillan stays on the crease, so I thought the good ball would be a yorker. I'm not lucky enough, but it will happen some day I hope."
Akhtar looms as the dangerman for the upcoming one-day series, but was himself at a loss to explain his mastery of New Zealand's batsmen.
His not-so-secret weapon of the reverse swinging yorker again accounted for several batsmen in this Test.
"It seems like my favourite team doesn't it?" he said.
"I'm really up for the Australians and all the tougher sides. New Zealand have good batsmen and play fast bowlers really well. I'm very fortunate to get wickets against New Zealand."