Exactly 21 years ago, former Pakistan captain and one of their all-time greatest cricketers, Shahid Afridi, announced himself on the international stage by scoring the then fastest ODI century (off 37 balls) against Sri Lanka at Nairobi.
The fact that he achieved the feat in only his second ODI and the first one in which he batted is what makes it a remarkable achievement. Afridi made his ODI debut in the previous match which Pakistan had played against Kenya at the same venue. However, he did not get a chance to bat in Pakistan’s four-wicket victory in the low-scoring encounter.
Arjuna Ranatunga, the then Sri Lankan captain, had won the toss and put Pakistan in to bat. Afridi was promoted up the order, at No. 3. He came in to bat at the fall of Saleem Elahi (23). He shared a 126-run partnership, out of which he had scored 102, with the then Pakistan captain, Saeed Anwar.
He ended up scoring 102 (40) with the help of six fours and 11 sixes. With Anwar scoring 115 (120) with the help of 13 fours and a six, Pakistan scored 371-9 in 50 overs.
Afridi, who scored 40 runs off two Sanath Jayasuriya overs during this innings, had given more wounds to the Sri Lankan all-rounder. Earlier in the same year, Jayasuriya had scored the fastest ODI century (off 48 balls) against Pakistan at Singapore. Afridi made sure that that record did not last for more than six months.
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