40 days to World Cup: Wasim Akram's four-fer downs Australia in '99

Wasim Akram got the ball rolling by reducing Australia to nought for one, bringing the ball back to get rid of Adam Gilchrist. 

Published: 20th April 2019 07:18 PM  |   Last Updated: 20th April 2019 07:18 PM   |  A+A-

Wasim Akram(L) with Saqlain Mushtaq. (FIle | AFP)

Online Desk

Pakistan entered the 1999 World Cup with one of the best bowling attacks in the world and proved it right from the start of the tournament. The legendary Wasim Akram led the side that boasted the likes of Shoaib Akhtar, Saqlain Mushtaq, Abdul Razzaq and Azhar Mahmood.

After two convincing wins against West Indies and Scotland, Pakistan were up against the Steve Waugh-led Australia at Leeds. 

After winning the toss, Australia invited the men in green to bat first. The strategy worked for Australia as they sent three Pakistani batsmen packing with the scoreboard reading just 46 runs. Damien Fleming was the chief destroyer, taking two of the three wickets and finishing with the excellent figures of 2/37 from his 10 overs that included three maidens.

Seeing their team in trouble, all-rounder Abdul Razzaq and the experienced Inzamam-ul-Haq carried out a rescue act, putting on 118 runs. Inzamam was the top-scorer with 81 runs off 104 balls, while Razzaq scored 60 from 99 deliveries.

Pakistan were provided with a late flourish by Mohammad Yousuf and Moin Khan who scored 29 off 16 and an unbeaten 31 off 31 respectively en route to a competitive 275/8 in 50 overs.

Akram got the ball rolling while defending the target. He reduced Australia to nought for one within the first three balls, bringing the ball back to get rid of Adam Gilchrist. 

Australia recovered after the loss of the first wicket as Mark Waugh and Ricky Ponting forged a 91-run partnership.

Soon after, Australia were in trouble again as Saqlain Mushtaq removed Ricky Ponting and Darren Lehmann in the space of three deliveries. 

Steve Waugh and Michael Bevan kept Australia in the game by putting on 113 runs for the fifth wicket. But once Bevan and Waugh fell, Akram and co. sliced through the Australian batting as Pakistan ran out victors by 10 runs. Akram removed Bevan, Damien Martyn and last-man Glenn McGrath to bundle out the Australians with one ball to spare.

Akram led from the front with figures of 4/40 in 9.5 overs to give Pakistan a confidence-boosting win. He was well-supported by Saqlain who claimed three wickets in his 10-over spell.

Inzamam-ul-Haq was adjudged Man of the Match for his crucial knock. 

The win helped Pakistan top the group with four wins from five matches, with the only loss coming against minnows Bangladesh.

Australia and Pakistan met again in the finals, but this time the result was different as Australia completed a thumping victory to lift their second World Cup trophy.


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