11th June 1999, the World Cup was in full swing as Pakistan faced Zimbabwe in their important Super Six match at the Oval.
Zimbabwe were a surprise package of the 1999 World Cup as they beat India and South Africa in the group stage to qualify for the Super Six. The all-rounder Neil Johnson was in great form along with Flower brothers, Andy and Grant. Their bowling was dependent on Heath Streak and Henry Olonga. Pakistan, on the other hand, were a very strong team with world’s top bowlers like Wasim Akram, Shoaib Akhtar and Saqlain Mushtaq. For batting, they had Saeed Anwar, Ijaz Ahmed and Inzamam-ul-Haq.
Pakistan won the toss and elected to bat first. They posted a decent 271; thanks to a century at the top by Saeed Anwar who scored 103. There were other significant contributions from Wajahatullah Wasti (40) and Shahid Afridi (37). Heath Streak and Henry Olonga led the bowling with two wickets each and there were two run outs by Flower brothers.
While chasing Zimbabwe were never in control as Neil Johnson played a lone hand with a calculated 54 as the Pakistani pacers ran through the lineup. On 123/7 they had no hope with only tail-enders to follow and Saqlain Mushtaq got the best out of it. He came to bowl the 40th over and got the wickets of Olonga, Adam Huckle, and Pommie Mbangwa on three consecutive deliveries to complete his second ODI hat-trick. It was a very easy task as these three batters were genuine tail-enders and they couldn’t read the mysterious spell from Saqlain.
With this Saqlain became only the second bowler after Wasim Akram to have two one day hat-tricks. Later Chaminda Vaas and Lasith Malinga registered multiple ODI hat-tricks to their names. Malinga has three hat-tricks including one ‘four wickets in four balls’ against South Africa during 2007 World Cup.