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Shoaib Akhtar said he regrets not having resorted to bodyline tactics while bowling to Sachin Tendulkar during the World Cup 2003 group match between arch-rivals India and Pakistan. Sachin scored a brilliant 98 in that contest as the Men In Blue ended up registering a famous win. He was dismissed by Akhtar himself.
The batting maestro had hit Shoaib for 18 runs in his first over and in the same over, he had slashed the 'Rawalpindi Express' for a six over backward point which is etched in the memories of the die-hard cricket fans even today.
While interacting on a Youtube show ‘Cricket Baaz’, Akhtar recollected that epic encounter and went on to say he reckoned that Pakistan's score was less on that wicket as according to him they were 25-30 runs below par because the pitch was very flat. Nonetheless, he did give credit to Team India and Tendulkar. However, the pace icon revealed he realised after that match that when the wicket is so easy, then a bowler should do bodyline bowling and regretting the same he added that even he should have gone just to hit the batsman.
Furthermore, the 'Rawalpindi Express' added that at the most, he would have got hit for a couple of sixes in an over but he could have still picked up a wicket nonetheless. The tearaway fast bowler then mentioned that the same bodyline bowling helped him in getting the Master Blaster's number in the second spell.
Waqar Younis had led the 1992 World Cup winners during the 2003 edition of the showpiece event that was played in South Africa. Both he and Wasim Akram were well past their prime by then and did not have a good campaign either as they were knocked out in the pool stages.
India and Pakistan had locked horns on March 1, 2003, at the Supersport Park in Centurion where the Men In Green had set India a stiff target of 274 runs. However, Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag smashed the Pak bowlers to all corners of the ground and seemed to be in a hurry to finish off the proceedings. But, Waqar brought Pakistan right back into the contest by accounting for Sehwag and skipper Sourav Ganguly off successive deliveries. Sachin and Kaif kept the scoreboard ticking.
Unfortunately, Tendulkar was done by an awkward bouncer from Shoaib Akhtar and was caught at point for a well-made 98. It could have been anyone's match from thereon but, stellar middle-order contributions from Rahul Dravid (44*) and Yuvraj Singh (50*) helped the eventual runners-up of that tournament pull off a famous win by six wickets.
Ganguly & Co. had an outstanding campaign as they made it to the finals. However, they were defeated by the then mighty Australians who were also the title-holders back then in a lop-sided contest.
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