Afridi sends Hampshire into T20 Blast last four

Shahid Afridi. Picture: Neil Marshall
Shahid Afridi. Picture: Neil Marshall
A batsman strikes out at Bramble Bank

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Shahid Afridi struck a superb maiden t20 century to fire Hampshire to comprehensive victory over Derbyshire and book his side a place in the T20 Blast semi-final.

Shahid Afridi struck a superb maiden t20 century to fire Hampshire to comprehensive victory over Derbyshire and book his side a place in the T20 Blast semi-final.

The Pakistan legend’s ton came off just 42 balls as the Ageas Bowl outfit won by 101 runs at the 3aaa County Ground.

Afridi shared a second-wicket stand of 103 with captain James Vince (55) as Hampshire posted a first-innings total of 249 for eight.

Hampshire’s bowlers then performed impressively as they bowled Derbyshire out for 148 with one ball remaining.

Afridi revealed he asked Vince if he could move up his side’s batting order before the clash as he felt he would be useful in the powerplay.

He said: ‘I asked the captain to send me up in the order because number seven or eight is not my position.

‘In t20, you can take chances – the first six overs is very important and

‘I took a chance because in crucial games you have to do that.

‘In the first six overs, batsmen like me and some others who play aggressive cricket have to utilise those overs. I tried to start with attack – attack is your defence.

‘The last time I opened in 2011 for Hampshire was on finals day but the main thing was I was confident.’

After Hampshire were put into bat, surprise opener Afridi started well and stamped his authority on the game.

Despite losing opening-partner Calvin Dickinson (18), the 37-year-old showed his class and reached 50 off just 20 balls.

After driving Imran Tahir for another huge six, Afridi was dropped on 65 at long on by Wayne Madsen.

It proved expensive as he dispatched Matthew Critchley and Tahir for two more sixes on his way to a 42-ball hundred before he top-edged another big pull and was caught at long leg.

But the damage had been done as Vince and George Bailey continued the plunder with the Hampshire skipper reaching his 50 with consecutive sixes off Ben Cotton before wickets tumbled in the closing overs.

Critchley took three wickets in the 19th over, but Hampshire had already posted a brilliant total.

Billy Godleman (four) pulled the first ball of the hosts’ reply for four but was then caught off Liam Dawson (three for 28) and Critchley (one) soon followed.

Luis Reece (16) was caught behind trying to run the ball to third man and when Madsen (four) turned Abbott to backward square, Derbyshire were sliding away at 35 for four.

The wickets continued to tumble although Cotton (30 not out) and Tahir (23) mustered some resistance for Derbyshire and shared a last-wicket stand on 46.

The latter was caught off Abbott (three for 25) in the second-last ball of the game.

Hampshire’s victory meant they earned a T20 Blast finals day spot for a seventh time in eight years. It takes place on September 2 at Edgbaston.