Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy 2019: Cheteshwar Pujara smashes a 61-ball century
Cheteshwar Pujara is the new ‘wall of Indian cricket’. His rock-solid technique to go along with his ice-cool temperament makes him a potent batsman in Test cricket. His patience and ability to grind out runs in difficult conditions is what makes him a special batsman.
After helping India to its first ever Test series win in Australia, Pujara returned to India and helped his domestic team Saurashtra reach the final of the Ranji trophy with a brilliant century against Karnataka in the semi-finals.
Critics have ridiculed Pujara for his slow-batting in the limited over formats of the game. Consequently, he has failed to secure an IPL contract this year as well. However, Pujara has now staked a claim in the 20-over format of the game as well, with a smashing T20 century against the Railways in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, India’s domestic T20 competition.
Opening the innings for Saurashtra, Pujara scored a 61-ball century to guide his team to a strong position, as Saurashtra set a target of 181 runs for the Railways. He went on to become the first batsman to score a T20 century for Saurashtra. It was also Pujara’s first century in T20 cricket. Pujara reached the landmark with the help of 14 fours and a six.
Although Pujara’s career strike rate in T20s is just 105, he showed a different aspect of his game today, as he scored with a strike rate of 164.
Pujara can play the sheet-anchor role to perfection in T20s. He can hold one end up while the other big hitters can play their shots around him. It was a bit surprising to see none of the IPL franchises bidding for him during the auctions. Pujara can fill in as an adequate replacement if any of the franchises have injury concerns during the tournament.