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Saturday, June 25, 2011

Shahid Afridi shows Hampshire what he can do with five-wicket blitz

Shahid Afridi

Shahid Afridi celebrated his home debut for Hampshire by taking five wickets in a 16-run Friends Life t20 victory over Gloucestershire at the Rose Bowl.
The former Pakistan captain, freed to play after resolving his dispute with the Pakistan Cricket Board, finished with figures of five for 20 as the holders Hampshire went joint top of the South Group with Sussex after recording their sixth win this season.
In a rain-affected match, Hampshire made 139 for seven and Gloucestershire, chasing a revised target of 124 from 17 overs, fell short.
In Hampshire's innings, Afridi, whose debut against Essex on Thursday coincided with the defending champions' first t20 loss of the season, managed to score only five before he was caught off the bowling of the visitors' acting captain, Kane Williamson.
But when Gloucestershire began their pursuit of a target of seven runs an over, they were soon in trouble against the pacy spin of Afridi.
Gloucestershire had reached 54 for two when Afridi struck for the first time, bowling Ian Cockbain for 24, an innings that included four boundaries.
Afridi struck again in his next over when he lured Chris Taylor from his crease to give Nic Pothas a stumping, and he then bowled Will Gidman for seven.
But Afridi made his most crucial contribution when he came on for the 15th over of the innings, with Gloucestershire still requiring another 27 for victory.
With his fourth delivery, Afridi bowled Richard Coughtrie with a quicker delivery, and then two balls later induced Ian Saxelby to sky a catch to Neil McKenzie at third man.
Gloucestershire's hopes depended on their stand-in skipper, Williamson, who had made 50 from 42 deliveries when he was ninth out to Sean Ervine in the penultimate over.
Williamson had struck six fours before lifting a catch to Imran Tahir, who clutched it at the second attempt.
Muttiah Muralitharan was last out three balls from the end of the match, bowled by Dominic Cork to ensure Hampshire's victory.
In the Hampshire innings, opener Jimmy Adams was top scorer with 47 before he was bowled by Muralitharan, who returned later to trap McKenzie for eight on his way to economic figures of two for 15 from his four-over allocation.
Hampshire were in trouble at 97 for six after Afridi had perished to a catch at long-on, but the seventh-wicket pair of Pothas and Dimitri Mascarenhas ensured a competitive total with a stand of 40 from 21 balls.
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