T20 Blast

The Cricket Paper - - NEWS - By Dan Barnes

The quar­ter-fi­nals are in full swing. Who reaches Fi­nals Day?

Pages 20-21

BUSI­NESS boomed at long last for Shahid Afridi as the Pak­istan star cat­a­pulted Hamp­shire into a sev­enth Fi­nals Day in eight years.

The 37-year-old, famed for his big-hit­ting abil­ity, pro­duced a rip-roar­ing 43-ball cen­tury to help Hamp­shire sweep aside Der­byshire Fal­cons in the T20 Blast quar­ter-fi­nal at the County Ground on Tues­day, book­ing a trip to Edg­bas­ton on Septem­ber 2.

Afridi’s su­perb knock of 101 pow­ered Hamp­shire to 249-8 – sur­pass­ing their pre­vi­ous high­est team to­tal of 225-2 set against Mid­dle­sex in June 2006 – and, hav­ing been pro­moted to the top of the vis­i­tors’ bat­ting or­der, the old mas­ter cashed in on throw­ing cau­tion to the wind.

He smacked Wayne Mad­sen all over the park, mak­ing 16 off the Fal­cons man’s first over, and pressed the is­sue home from there.

“I told the cap­tain and coach to send me up the or­der,” said Afridi.

“In T20, you can take chances. Bats­men like me, who play ag­gres­sively, have to utilise those first six overs.

“I tried to start with at­tack – at­tack is your de­fence.

“The spin­ner [Mad­sen] was bowl­ing, so I tried to put pres­sure on them be­cause the pitch was not easy, es­pe­cially with the new ball.”

Skip­per James Vince (55) con­trib­uted to Hamp­shire’s hearty to­tal and the hosts strug­gled to find any­where near as much joy with the bat, tail-en­der Ben Cot­ton top­scor­ing with 30 as the Fal­cons were dis­missed for 148 with the penul­ti­mate ball of the match.

Der­byshire de­part the com­pe­ti­tion hav­ing racked up a club-record eight wins and bats­man Luis Reece paid trib­ute to Afridi’s hero­ics.

“We came up against Shahid Afridi when he was hot and his in­nings pretty much won them the game,” said the 27-year-old.

“It was a great knock from him and when some­one hits 100 off 40 balls, you are al­ways on the back foot.

“We tried to make the most of the pow­er­play. Maybe, in hind­sight, we went a lit­tle too hard, but when you are chas­ing 250, you would rather die try­ing to go hard and give it a good crack. But 250 is al­ways go­ing to be a tough chase and it just wasn’t our night.

“It’s been a great com­pe­ti­tion as a whole for Der­byshire.

“We’ve made some great strides for­ward this year and reached our first quar­ter-fi­nal in 12 years.

“Hope­fully, we can use this and build on it for years to come.”

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