Sameer Four Nations Cup, sixth qualifying match


Toss: Sri Lanka.

Sensational batting by teenage leg-spnnner Shahid Afridi swept Pakistan into the final. He was promoted to No. 3 - he had not batted in his only previous international - and dashed to a hundred in 37 balls, 11 fewer than the limited-overs international record set by Jayasuriya against Pakistan in Singapore six months earlier. He was said to be 16 years 217 days old, but he looked older, and the ages of several established Pakistani players had recently been challenged. His brilliance was not in dispute. In all, he scored 102 from 40 balls, with 11 sixes (equalling Jayasuriya's record) and six fours, out of 126 for the second wicket. The full innings was 0610400600661166264400661411041606024100. He took 41 off the 11 balls he faced from Jayasuriya, whose ten overs went for 94, though he also managed three wickets. The ground was not especially small, and most of the sixes went into the car park, anyway. They would have been sixes almost anywhere. Nor were they slogs; it was an exhibition of wonderful clean hitting. After Afridi was out, Saeed Anwar scored a more sedate 115 from 120 balls and Pakistan galloped to 371, the second-highest total ever scored in a one-day international. Sri Lanka had little hope of winning, but could still reach the final ahead of Pakistan on net run-rate if they scored 290. When Waqar Younis reduced them to 27 for four, that looked unlikely. But Aravinda de Silva scored an intelligent, unflustered 122 from 116 balls, sharing century stands with Ranatunga and Dharmasena. Sri Lanka entered the final over, from Waqar, needing 11 to qualify; Vaas hit a six and a four, then was bowled with one ball remaining.

Man of the Match: Shahid Afridi.

© John Wisden & Co