Norwich Union League: Leicestershire v Kent at Leicester, 22 Jul 2001|
The 21-year-old opener smashed 70 off just 32 balls with six fours and five sixes to lead the Foxes to their eighth successive victory – their best ever start in the competition.
They beat the Kent Spitfires by five wickets to stay top-of-the-table and remain on course to win the League for the first time since 1977.
After winning the toss, second-in-the-table Kent were bowled out for a disappointing 144 in 43.3 overs. Fast bowler James Ormond undermined them with a five over spell in which he took three wickets at a cost of only four runs.
The Spitfires never recovered, and with Jon Dakin chipping in with two for 27 and Afridi snapping up the vital wicket of Mark Ealham, the Foxes were left with a modest target of 145 for victory.
With Afridi in such explosive form they made light work of it. Afridi holds the record for the fastest ever century in one-day internationals – it came off 37 balls and included ll sixes against Sri Lanka – and he seemed intent on matching it on this, his home debut for the Foxes.
He helped put on 58 in seven overs with Dakin and reached his own 50 off 26 balls with three fours and four sixes. The crowd loved it, and when Afridi then struck Min Patel for three fours and a six off successive deliveries, they were in raptures.
But trying for another big hit off the next ball he topped edged a catch having hit 70 out of a total of 100 in l2 overs.
His departure saw the scoring slow down as Darren Maddy and Ben Smith sensibly made sure there was no middle order collapse. That had looked a possibility when Ealham picked up three quick wickets.
But Smith and Maddy saw the Foxes home with 18 overs to spare with Maddy unbeaten on 25. Ealham finished with three for 19.
They bowled out second placed Kent Spitfires for 144 in 43.3 overs with James Ormond taking three for 16 and Jon Dakin two for 27.
It was fast bowler Ormond who swung the game Leicestershire's way with a devastating second spell in which he took all his three wickets for just four runs in five overs. He bowled Andrew Symonds with a delivery which nipped back, yorked James Hockley for a top score of 37 and then removed Matthew Walker who was bowled off a bottom edge.
It was a burst of bowling which took the steam out of the Kent innings. Until then they had been progressing comfortably at 56 for two. But they never recovered and although Mark Ealham and Paul Nixon added 42 for the sixth wicket the home attack remained on top.
Dakin bowled tidily to keep things tight while Shahid Afridi, on his home debut, struck the vital blow when he bowled Ealham for 34.
Date-stamped : 22 Jul2001 - 22:33