Shahid Afridi destroys Derbyshire's T20 dreams
Shahid Afridi demolished Derbyshire's dream of reaching the finals of the NatWest T20 Blast for the first time with a brutal display of power hitting as Hampshire cruised to a crushing 101 run victory in a one-sided quarter-final at Derby.
The Pakistani all-rounder smashed 101, which included seven sixes and 10 fours, off only 43 balls to power Hampshire to 249 for 8, their highest T20 score, with leg-spinner Matt Critchley claiming 3 for 32.
Skipper James Vince made 55 from 36 balls as Hampshire passed their previous best of 225 for 2 against Middlesex in 2006 and faced with an improbable target of 250 the Falcons crumbled to148 all out with Liam Dawson and Kyle Abbott each taking three wickets.
Hampshire sent in Afridi to open against the county he played for in 2003 and he swept and drove four boundaries from Wayne Madsen’s first over and Calvin Dickinson took two fours from Hardus Viljeon before he was brilliantly caught one handed by Matt Henry running back at mid on.
Afridi’s previous highest score was 18 but he was taking this game away as he pulled Ben Cotton for six before driving him over the top of the three storey media centre.
He reached 50 off only 20 balls with a top edged six but after driving Imran Tahir for another huge six, he was dropped on 65 at long on by Madsen.
It proved expensive as Afridi dispatched 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 Cotton before wickets tumbled in the closing overs.
Critchley took three in the 19th but Hampshire’s score was the biggest ever at Derby and the fourth highest in domestic T20 matches.
Billy Godleman pulled the first ball of the Falcons reply for four but then swung Dawson to wide midwicket and Critchley followed in the next over.
Luis Reece drove Chris Wood for six before he was caught behind trying to run the ball to third man and when Madsen turned Abbott to backward square, the Falcons were sliding away at 35 for 4.
The wickets continued to tumble and with the result a foregone conclusion, it was just a question of whether the Falcons could prevent Hampshire beating the biggest victory margin of 172 in T20 cricket.
Alex Hughes and Daryn Smit at least avoided that ignominy but it was scant consolation on a night of total Hampshire dominance.