No. 22

Akram nails two in two

Wasim's World Cup ripper of rippers came with a sequel hot on its heels

Tim de Lisle

May 17, 2009

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Wasim Akram is on fire as he takes Allan Lamb out, immediately before taking Chris Lewis' wicket, Pakistan v England, World Cup final, Melbourne, 25 March, 1992
Lamb gone, Lewis to follow © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Wasim Akram
Series/Tournaments: Benson & Hedges World Cup
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Melbourne, 25 March 1992

The first World Cup final to be played under lights, the only one to take place in Australia, and the last one not to feature the Australian team. The two finalists are the team that did best in the group stage - England, astonishingly - and the one that came roaring into form just in time - Pakistan.

The game ebbs and flows nicely. Derek Pringle's tidy outswing puts England on top before two grizzled maestros, Imran Khan and Javed Miandad, fight back with a stand of 139. With a fluent 40 from their latest discovery Inzamam-ul-Haq, and a buccaneering 33 from Wasim Akram, Pakistan set a target of 250.

England stumble to 69 for 4 in the twilight, but then Neil Fairbrother and Allan Lamb drag them back into it. They put on 72 and Imran is forced to turn to his sole spearhead, Wasim (Imran himself is bowling with a bad shoulder, and Waqar Younis has missed the whole tournament). Wasim has to find something special. It helps that his speciality is reverse swing at high pace. He ambles in to Lamb, round the wicket, and fires one in towards his pads. It shapes in, then darts away, beating Lamb's baffled prod and taking out the off stump.

Chris Lewis comes in at No.7. Wasim goes wider on the crease and greets him with what appears to be an off-side wide, but it curls back wickedly late and takes out the off stump again. Wasim went on to play one-day international cricket for longer than any other bowler - 18 years, 356 games, 502 wickets - but he never bettered those two balls.

Tim de Lisle is a former editor of Wisden and now edits www.timdelisle.com. This article was first published in the print version of Cricinfo Magazine

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Tim de Lisle Tim de Lisle is a former editor of Wisden. He fell in love with newspapers at the age of seven and with cricket at the age of 10. He started in journalism at 16, reviewing records for the London Australian Magazine, before reading classics at Oxford and writing for Smash Hits, Harpers & Queen and the Observer. He has been a feature writer on the Daily Telegraph, arts editor of the Times and the Independent on Sunday, and editor of Wisden Cricket Monthly, where he won an Editor of the Year award. Since 1999, Tim has been the rock critic of the Mail on Sunday. He is deputy editor of Intelligent Life, the new general-interest magazine from the Economist. He writes for the Guardian and makes frequent appearances as a cricket pundit on the BBC and Sky News.

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