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Front-foot blaster

A statistical analysis of Shahid Afridi's century

On the ball with S Rajesh and Arun Gopalakrishnan
How does one approach the task of bowling to Shahid Afridi? The Indians tried most weapons in their armoury, but not much worked - full and good-length deliveries were spanked away, while the short balls were dispatched without too much fuss. The only area which kept Afridi relatively quiet was a back-of-a-length region - when the two Indian seamers pitched it there, he scored only five from 11 balls. Zaheer Khan, who bowled a slightly shorter length, had relatively better figures, going at 7.83 runs an over against Afridi. Lakshmipathy Balaji, on the other hand, bowled a fuller length and was thrashed, conceding 26 off eight balls. In fact, Afridi scored 66 from 27 off the front foot - that's more than two runs per ball. When playing back, he was slightly more restrained, scoring 21 from 13.
What also stood out about Afridi's knock was the areas in which he scored his runs. He didn't score a single run in the third man or point region, and there was nothing much for the fine-leg fielder to do either. Instead, Afridi mostly offered the full face of the bat, scoring 42 in the V between mid-off and mid-on.