Tue, Dec 30, 2003 - Page 19 News List

Ahktar steamrollers over New Zealand as India takes charge

AFP , WELLINGTON

The "Rawalpindi Express" achieved everything he wanted to out of his stunning bowling spell against New Zealand yesterday ... except for the elusive hat-trick.

Shoaib Ahktar, who has made a habit of terrorizing New Zealand batsmen, bowled Pakistan within sight of a series victory with another unplayable spell in the second Test at the Basin Reserve.

His haul of six for 30 to spark a New Zealand collapse of seven wickets for just eight runs gave him match figures of 11 for 78.

He is a certainty for the man of the match award when Pakistan knock off the 28 more runs they need for victory.

Akhtar now has 17 wickets from two tests against New Zealand at 5.24 runs apiece after a match-winning six for 11 inflicted the Black Caps' last test loss in Lahore 18 months ago.

But for all his success, he regrets not snaring Craig McMillan's wicket for his first international hat-trick.

It was brute of an in-swinging yorker which McMillan somehow kept out after Mark Richardson and Scott Styris had folded in the previous two balls.

"I always wish for it, and I've missed my hat-trick about 12 times now. I try to make it happen. I was thinking it was my last chance for a while," said Akhtar.

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