Pakistan pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi on Sunday ensured victory for Hampshire after taking four wickets in four consecutive balls during the T20 Vitality Blast match against Middlesex in Southampton.
According to ESPN Cricinfo, the 20-year-old is only the seventh player to take four wickets in four balls in a T20.
Before Sunday, Afridi was having a poor season for Hampshire and was being taken to the cleaners by the batsmen. He had picked up only one wicket for his side while conceding 191 runs.
But in this match, he celebrated an incredible 6 for 19 — Hampshire's best ever T20 bowling figures, and the county's second format hat-trick in their history, according to the cricinfo report.
The left arm fast bowler ran through the Middlesex tail, routing the stumps of John Simpson, Steven Finn, Thilan Walallawita and Tim Murtagh one after the other to bulldoze the visitors. Hampshire won the match by 20 runs.
In a short video clip posted by Hampshire Cricket on Twitter, Afridi said he was "really happy to finally perform well". Commenting on the rocky start to the season, he added that "wickets weren't really in his hands" and that he always tried his best.
In a tweet, he added that this feat would not have been possible without his parent's prayers. "I am grateful to everyone at [Hampshire Cricket] for the opportunity and unconditional support. A heartfelt thanks to all my fans around the world."
Batting first, Hampshire lost opener James Vince cheaply on 6 off 9 balls before Tom Alsop (25) and Sam Northeast (31) added 32 runs for the second wicket. Vital contributions of 25 runs from Ian Holland and 15 runs from tail-ender Ryan Stevenson propelled the team’s score to 141/9 in 20 overs.
In reply, Middlesex also got off to a poor start losing two wickets inside 14 runs. However, Simpson took charge on one end and led the fightback for his side. He scored a gritty 48 off 40 balls but failed to find support from his teammates as Afridi ran riot with the ball.
Courtesy Afridi’s stunning spell, Middlesex were restricted to 121 and fell short in the chase.