It has been 18 years to the day, since Shoaib Akhtar broke the 100mph barrier. In the third ODI against New Zealand in Lahore, Akhtar’s delivery to Craig McMillan was recorded at 100.04mph (161 kph). It was the first time a bowler was clocked over 100mph. Unfortunately, ICC refused to sanction the feat questioning the authenticity of the speed gun.
It was, however, a great spectacle as it has always been to watch express pace bowling. Here, we look at a few of the fastest spells available on YouTube which has gone on to dismantle the opposition in the blink of an eye:
Australia of the 2000s were an invincible side but on June 19, 2002, Akhtar proved to be too hot to handle for them in Brisbane. His spell of 5 for 25 saw Australia skittled out for 165 all-out while chasing 256. In a display of sheer pace, Akhtar made a mockery of the opposition batsmen’s footwork. He hit Ricky Ponting’s middle-stump in his first over with an inswinger recorded at 151kph. In his next, he took advantage of Darren Lehmann’s exaggerated shuffle to smash his leg-pole with a delivery recorded at 150kph. Next over, he sent Damien Martyn back with a 152kph delivery. A 144kph delivery might seem slower in comparison but was enough to square up Michael Bevan.
Inarguably, he was the man-of-the-match and even won the man-of-series award that night in Pakistan’s 2-1 series victory.
Bond.. Shane Bond
Shane Bond ruined Australia’s National Day party in 2002 with a stupendous bowling exhibition that fetched him bowling figures of 5 for 25. It bears an uncanny resemblance with the aforementioned game where Akhtar also attained similar figures. Not only that but Australia were also wrecked for 165 in this game succumbing to a heavy defeat.
Bond, however, did not threaten to break any speedometers but continued bowling in the high 140s throughout. Three of his five wickets were highly prized top-order wickets to derail the home side early in their run chase of 242 in Adelaide. While Ponting and Martyn’s departure was planned around luring them into playing shots, Bond’s delivery crashing into Adam Gilchrist’s middle-stump was a dream yorker at 148kph. He later came back to take two lower-order wickets, capping off a victory to notch up the third best bowling figures in ODI cricket by a New Zealand bowler at that point.
Brett Lee’s career-best bowling figures of 5 for 22 in 10 overs was too hot to handle for South Africa on January 20, 2006 at Melbourne’s Telstra Dome. Charging in with the new ball, Lee was express from the word go. He rocked the top-order in his first spell and then ran through the middle-order in his second as the tourists managed only 186 in their pursuit of 245. Proteas’ captain Graeme Smith was the first to go, caught behind off Lee’s outswinger bowled at 149.6kph.
The right-arm pacer then clattered into the stumps of his next four prey, beating each one of them with pace, targeting the stumps consistently in the upper 140s. He was adjudged man-of-the-match and his skipper, Ricky Ponting acknowledged Lee’s performance saying that the express bowler is certainly pushing claims to be the best one-day bowler of his time.
Video credits: cricket.com.au