Ireland’s Amy Hunter became international cricket’s youngest centurion on Monday after striking an unbeaten 121 against Zimbabwe on her 16th birthday.
Hunter hit eight fours in her 127-ball innings at number three and reached her century with a leg-side flick for four as Ireland sealed a 3-1 series win in Harare. The youngest male batter to score a century in one-day internationals was Pakistan’s Shahid Afridi, who scored 102 against Sri Lanka in 1996 aged 16 years and 217 days.
India’s Mithali Raj held the women’s record with an unbeaten 114 against Ireland in 1999 at the age of 16 years and 205 days. Hunter is also younger than all male and female centurions in Tests and Twenty20 internationals.
“It feels really good – it’s a bit surreal,” said the schoolgirl from Belfast, Northern Ireland, who was named player of the match.
“I didn’t really know what to think when I was coming up to my fifty. I just wanted to stick by and get there. When I reached my hundred, I had no idea what to do, whether to take the helmet off or keep it on. It was unbelievable.”
Hunter made her international debut against Scotland in May aged 15. She is just the fourth woman to hit an ODI century for Ireland and the first since 2000, eclipsing Karen Young’s 120 against Pakistan that year to post Ireland’s highest individual score. Her historic achievement remarkably comes after her previous three ODI innings yielded single-figure scores of 2, 1 and 4. Ireland’s women were on the wrong end of teenage prodigy heroics in 2018 when New Zealand’s 17-year-old Amelia Kerr smashed the highest score in women’s ODIs with an unbeaten 232.
Ireland claimed their first bilateral ODI series win away from home after their 85-run victory.
Hunter’s century propelled the Irish to 312-3 after 50 overs – their highest team score in ODIs – and the hosts were restricted to 227-8.
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