I just wanted to win the game: Shoaib

After a match-winning IPL debut, Shoaib Akhtar says he had nothing to prove to anyone. "I was under stress but put everything behind me," he said.

updated: May 20, 2008 13:50 IST
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After ripping apart the Delhi Dardevils top-order with a tornado-like opening spell in his maiden Indian Premier League outing, Pakistan speedster Shoaib Akhtar tonight said he had put everything into his bowling and had 'no points to make to anybody'.

"I just wanted to win the game. I have no points to make to anybody," said the Rawalpindi Express, who returned brilliant figures of 3-0-11-4 that ensured a 23-run victory for the Kolkata Knight Riders at the Eden Gardens here.

In an oblique reference to the controversy that dogged him for the last few months, Shoaib said "I was stressed but put everything behind me".

The tearaway thanked his teammates, coach John Buchanan, captain Sourav Ganguly and team owner Shah Rukh Khan.

"Sharing the dressing room with SRK and Sourav was fantastic. They backed me. And I am really happy to perform. They put faith in me. And I am happy to deliver".

Visibly elated after his stupendous performance, Akhtar said "For me, my team is the most important thing. Kolkata is my home team. Eden Gardens is my home ground".

Criticised often for his attitude problems, Akhtar said "Whenever I play I give hundred per cent".

On whether he had expected to succeed on his maiden IPL outing, he said "I gave my best, thankfully the wickets came".

The Pakistani bowler said he was excited when he finally had the cherry in his hands.

"It has been four months since I played my last game". He attributed his side's success to team effort. "Things were going the right way. It was a team effort, event the fielding was great."

Praising Akhtar, Ganguly said "He came to the country with lots (of things) happening behind him. That shows a lot of character".

Delhi captain Virender Sehwag, who became Akhtar's first victim, also paid tributes to the fast bowler.

"This is the best spell of Twenty20 bowling I have seen. He is a great bowler".

He, however, denied that the Delhi side was done in by Shoaib's pace. "We are used to pace. We are all international players. I, Gautam (Gambhir), and (Manoj) Tiwary".

Asked to spell out the reasons for the team's battering in the hands of Akhtar, Sehwag said "Actually we batted too positively against Shoaib".

Meanwhile, asked about his youthful exuberance on the field during the day, Sourav replied tongue-in-cheek "I hope the national selectors are watching".