Seventeen years ago, on this very day, Shahid Afridi scored the fastest ever ODI century, in just 37 balls, against Sri Lanka. It is a record that is still intact. Afridi, who was batting for the first time in his one day international career, gave a performance that proved to be a nightmare for the Sri Lankans.
When Shahid Afridi, aged 16 years and 217 days at that time, walked onto the field, little did the Sri Lankans know that they were in for a thrashing at the hands of the young teenager. Afridi mauled them in such a brutal way that they were sent crashing out of the tournament.
Although he missed the chance of equaling the fastest ever ODI half century, by just one ball, he still went on to bludgeon his way to the fastest century in ODI cricket. Afridi sending the ball into the tiers became a common sight for the spectators watching the match. Every bowler seemed helpless. Afridi walloped his way through the bowling line-up, leaving them high and dry.
When Shahid Afridi was on 97 from 36 balls, millions of hearts started to beat faster; millions of lips moved in recitation of prayers. And the prayers were heard. They were answered. As soon as the commentator uttered: “This could be the world record. Shahid Afridi has got the fastest hundred in one day internationals”, jubilations filled the air. It was Pakistan’s moment. It was Pakistan’s celebration.
For a man playing his first knock in one day international cricket, this was an astounding achievement. He hit eleven sixes in that game, equaling Sanath Jayasuriya’s record in ODIs. The scoring sequence of his final tally of 102 runs came thus:
That was seventeen years ago. Fast forward to the present and you see a Shahid Afridi who still is the heart and soul of the team. He might fail to perform sometimes but you cannot write him off. Afridi being the charmer that he is. is known as the ‘darling of the crowd’.
From playing a vital role in Pakistan’s 2009 T20 Worldcup triumph, to making Pakistan reach the semifinal of Worldcup 2011, Shahid Afridi has always gone all out to bring laurels for this nation. He is a superstar, a legend, who will always be cherished.
Thank you for all the glorious moments and bundles of joy, Lala. You are our pride and we are blessed to have you!