Shahid Afridi misused Derbyshire’s absence of big-time encounter – it was their first T20 quarter-last since 2005 – to drive significantly more prepared Hampshire into T20 finals day at Edgbaston on 2 September. Afridi, the previous Pakistan captain, promoted to open, hit one of the quickest hundreds of years made in the NatWest Blast off 42 balls.
Afridi, undeniably the best hitter Pakistan have created, never given Derbyshire’s nerves a chance to settle. Their opening gambit of utilizing Wayne Madsen’s moderate offbreaks for the first finished had been conflicting with reluctant region batsmen yet the bellicose 37 year-old cleared and drove four fours and Derbyshire’s course of game plan unwound from that point.
Afridi destroyed ten fours and seven sixes to complete with 101 off 43 balls. Derbyshire had arranged a green seaming track for their seamers however under Afridi’s strike they lost their length and pitched dreadfully full – and, abnormally, their exclusive seamer of much worldwide experience, Matt Henry of New Zealand, did not bowl a solitary over in the six-over Powerplay, and did not bowl his second over until the thirteenth of the innings, when he had Afridi gotten at long-leg off a best edged snare.