On this day: Shoaib sets speedometer rolling

On February 22, 2003, Shoaib Akhtar aka ‘Rawalpindi Express’ bowled the fastest delivery, 161.3 kph (100.23 mph), against England in the ICC World Cup fixture at Cape Town.

Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar finished his ODI career with 247 wickets in 163 games at an economy rate of 4.76.   -  AFP

Every World Cup promises records and milestones. In most cases, the batters rule the roost, but in the eighth edition of the ICC tournament held in South Africa in 2003, a fast bowler turned heads.

Fifteen years ago, on this day, former Pakistan speedster Shoaib Akhtar clocked the fastest delivery in international cricket — 161.3 kph (100.23 mph) — against England at Cape Town.

The delivery completed a maiden over with Nick Knight being at the receiving end. The first five deliveries of the deadly second over recorded speeds of 153.3 kph, 158.4 kph, 158.5 kph, 157.4 kph and 159.5 kph — the average being 158.06 kph.

Coincidentally, Shaun Tait — the Australian pacer who almost touched his record clocking 161.1 kph against England in 2010 at Lord’s — was born on the same day (February 22, 1983), albeit 20 years before Akhtar's record.

 

Brett Lee, Akhtar’s closest competitor, is joint-second in the list. He had clocked 161.1 kph against New Zealand at Napier in 2005.

In recent times, Mitchell Starc (Australia) came close to the 100-mile club when he clocked 160.4 kph in a Test match against New Zealand at the WACA in 2015.