What's the story?
Shoaib Akhtar was one of the several Pakistan players who were a part of the inaugural edition of IPL back in 2008. Mohammad Hafeez, Umar Gul, Salman Butt were the three other Pakistan stars who played alongside Akhtar at KKR.
Playing under Sourav Ganguly in his debut IPL game against Delhi Daredevils at the colossal Eden Gardens, the fiery Akhtar produced 'Player of the Match' winning performance by tormenting Delhi's batting line-up comprising big guns like Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, AB de Villiers, Tillakaratne Dilshan and Shikhar Dhawan with his pace.
After removing the dashing Sehwag for a golden duck, Akhtar followed it up with three more wickets, thereby finishing with the figures of 4/11 in three overs.
The heart of the matter
Recounting his dream spell against the then-Daredevils at the Eden Gardens which set the tone for KKR's 23-run win after posting 133-6 batting first, Akhtar was quoted as saying in Hindustan Times:
"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"
The 44-year-old played just three matches for Kolkata Knight Riders in the inaugural edition, picking five wickets at an economy of 7.71. The Rawalpindi Express, who played 46 Tests,163 ODIs and 15 T20Is, announced his retirement after 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup where for Pakistan lost in the semi-finals against arch-rivals India.
Having bolstered the squad with quality domestic as well as overseas signings like Rahul Tripathi, Varun Chakravarthy, Pat Cummins, Eoin Morgan and Tom Banton, the Shah Rukh Khan co-owned franchsie will be determined to go all the way in 2020 IPL after missing out on the playoffs berth narrowly last season having finished fifth.
With the squad already comprising proven match-winners like Andre Russell and Sunil Narine, the two-time winners, led by Dinesh Karthik, are one of the strong contenders going into the season thirteen of the cash-rich league.Published 14 Feb 2020, 21:42 IST