2019-02-21 by W.M.
Iyer’s 147 smashes domestic T20 record, Pujara hits maiden T20 ton
Railways deny Pujara joy after maiden T20 ton
Twelve years after he first played the format, Cheteshwar Pujara finally has a century to show in T20s. However, his 61-ball 100 not out on the opening day of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy in Indore wasn’t enough to give Saurashtra victory against Railways.
Pujara carried his bat through as Saurashtra finished on 188 for 3 in 20 overs. Along the way, he became the first batsman from Saurashtra to make a T20 century, surpassing his previous best – a 55-ball 81 – against Jammu & Kashmir in 2016. His second half-century was three balls slower than his first, which came off 29 balls. In all, he hit 14 fours and a six.
He put on 85 with wicketkeeper Harvik Desai and followed it up with a 82-run stand with Robin Uthappa, who made a 31-ball 46 in his first competitive fixture in four months following an ankle surgery in London. Uthappa, a key player for Kolkata Knight Riders since 2014, missed the Ranji Trophy and spent the time away working on his rehabilitation. In between, he also had brief commentary stints during India’s limited-overs series in Australia.
With India’s next Test assignment only in July in the Caribbean, Pujara is likely to figure for Saurashtra throughout the T20 tournament, that also has the likes of Ajinkya Rahane, Prithvi Shaw, Shreyas Iyer, R Ashwin and Mayank Agarwal in participation.
Pujara, who hasn’t featured in the IPL since his stint with Kings XI Punjab in 2014, is potentially looking at a third season of country cricket in the summer before India next play Test cricket after the World Cup.
Iyer smashes record for highest T20 score
Mumbai smashed the third-highest T20 score in India, and the seventh highest in all T20 cricket, after they finished at 258 for 4 against Sikkim in Indore.
On the way, Shreyas Iyer’s 55-ball 147 also broke Rishabh Pant’s 128* as the highest T20 score by an Indian.
Iyer struck 15 sixes and seven fours in his innings, including a 35-run over off Sikkim medium-pacer Tashi Bhalla. He was assisted by Suryakumar Yadav’s 33-ball 63.
Incidentally, Iyer’s 15 sixes also saw him take the record among Indians for most sixes in a T20 innings from Murali Vijay (11 and is now perched tied-fourth on the all-time list.