Former Pakistan cricketer Shoaib Akhtar recalled Mohammad Kaif’s brilliant catch during the 2004 ODI series in Pakistan. The catch became the turning point of the match, which India won by five runs.
The Indian team played five One-day Internationals on the 2004 tour to Pakistan. In the first ODI in Karachi, India put on 349 runs on the board in the first innings. Rahul Dravid fell short of his hundred by one run, while Virender Sehwag smashed 79 runs. Mohammad Kaif also made a valuable contribution of 46 runs lower down the batting order.
In the second innings, Pakistan lost a couple of quick wickets. However, Inzamam-ul-Haq’s century kept them in the match. In the 39th over, when Pakistan seemed to be cruising towards the victory, Kaif’s catch turned the match on its head. Pakistan needed just ten runs to win with four wickets in hand.
On the last delivery of the over, Shoaib Malik tried to make room for himself and loft the ball for a six. But Kaif came running to complete a stunning catch. Recalling the incident in a chat with Mohammad Kaif for Sportskeeda, Shoaib Akhtar said:
“Kaif’s iconic catch in 1st ODI. What a catch it was. If Kaif hadn’t taken that catch, we would have taken the series. Our plan was to beat India psychologically by preparing quick pitches for the remaining games after 350 runs were scored in the first match. But Kaif’s catch turned the series.
“I thought the ball was going for a six and we would win the game after that. I don’t know from where he suddenly ran in and plucked that catch. All of us were stunned in the Pakistan dressing room,” he added.
The ball wasn’t reaching the batter, so Kaif walked down the track – Shoaib Akhtar
Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Kaif were part of the Legends Cricket League which took place earlier this year in Oman. Kaif played for the Indian Maharajas, while Shoaib was part of the Asia Lions team. Recalling the match between both the sides, Shoaib Akhtar said:
“I tried my best in Oman (during the Legends Cricket League in 2022). I was so slow that the ball wasn’t even reaching the batter (laughs). Then I thought that the organizers should not feel that I did not run and give in my best. My right knee was broken, so I tried.”
Akhtar revealed that he thought of bowling a back-of-length delivery to Kaif. The former India cricketer walked down the track to play against the former pacer.
“I thought I should bowl a back-of-length delivery to Kaif. But he is a very fit person, he knew that the ball wasn’t reaching the batter. So Kaif walked down the track to play the ball,” said Akhtar.
“My parents have taught me that when someone walks four steps towards yourself, you should also, move two steps forward,” jokingly replied Mohammad Kaif.