Kenya followed up their official debut in the 1996 World Cup by staging their first senior international tournament, commemorating the centenary of the earliest recorded match played in the county. The Kenyans could not emulate their triumph over West Indies in February, losing to all three of their rivals, though they gave Pakistan a scare. Pakistan eventually squeezed through to join South Africa in the final by the smallest possible fraction of net run-rate; had Sri Lanka scored one more run in their last game, they would have qualified. South Africa won the final easily, having produced their familiar all-conquering one-day form except for one aberration, against Sri Lanka. Allan Donald was named player of the tournament for his 14 wickets.
But it was a teenager batting for the first time in a senior international, in the qualifying game between Pakistan and Sri Lanka, who grabbed the world headlines. Shahid Afridi scored a century from 37 balls, shattering the 48-ball record Sanath Jayasuriya of Sri Lanka had set when the teams met in Singapore the previous April. Afridi was a late selection, summoned from the Under-19 tour of the West Indies for his leg-spin because Mushtaq Ahmed was unfit. Saeed Anwar (acting-captain after Wasim Akram was called home to his sick father) sent him in as a pinch-hitter at No. 3 and changed the course of the tournament. Crowds at the Nairobi Gymkhana were good, rising to around 10,000 for the final, with up to 4,000 at the lesser venues.
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