Pakistan fast bowling legend Shoaib Akhtar became the first man in cricket history to break the 100mph barrier during an ODI against New Zealand in Lahore on April 27, 2002. Also Read - When Imran Khan Almost Got Married to Bollywood Diva Rekha!
The moment came in the third and final ODI of a three-match series which Pakistan had already won by winning the first two matches. Craig McMillan faced the thunderbolt from Akhtar which was clocked at 100.04mph or 161 kph – the fastest ever in an international match. Also Read - West Indies May Never Return to Dominate World Cricket, Says Curtly Ambrose
Sadly, the International Cricket Council (ICC) didn’t recognise the feat as the speed gun used for the match lacked a standardised measuring tool and also it was supplied by a sponsor. Also Read - ICC Tribunal Clears Avishka Gunawardene of Corruption Charges
The refusal led to Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) releasing a statement. “According to the speed gun operated in the ground by a sponsor, Shoaib Akhtar bowled a delivery at a speed off 161 kph during the 3rd ODI between Pakistan and New Zealand at Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore,” PCB had said.
But a year later, Akhtar would remove any doubt and become the official holder of cricket’s fastest delivery across formats. And he chose the ODI World Cup stage to repeat the feat.
Against England at Newlands Stadium in Cape Town, Akhtar’s sixth delivery of fifth over to Nick Night was clocked at 161.3 or 100.2 mph – an improvement over what he had managed almost a year back.
The feat didn’t go unnoticed with the commentators and crowd immediately praising the Pakistan cricketer for the achievement.
Realising what he had done, Akhtar acknowledged the warm reception. “It doesn’t matter to me whether somebody recognises the speed gun or not. For me, it’s satisfying that I have bowled the fastest-ever delivery.” Akhtar had said afterwards.
After him, two Australians Brett Lee and Shaun Tait have breached the 100mph mark but neither broke Akhtar’s record which till date remains intact.