Saurashtra batsman Pujara who went unsold in the IPL auction yet again proved his worth with this knock.
Whenever the name Cheteshwar Pujara strikes anyone’s mind, one might think of a defensive, composed batsman who can bat out days and play big knocks in Test and first-class cricket. He never played in the Indian Premier League post 2014 as he was not suitable for the format according to the franchises. He has been one of the prolific and consistent batsmen in domestic cricket for Saurashtra and in Test cricket for India but still he is not in the contention to play the World Cup.
But time and again Pujara has proven his worth in the shorter format. He averages 54.2 with the bat in List A cricket. He got limited opportunities in one-day international cricket and last played for India in the format in June 2014 against Bangladesh which was his fifth ODI. He slammed a 73-ball 108 for Indian Oil in the DY Patil T20 tournament prior to the IPL auctions in 2017 but still failed to obtain a contract as no teams were interested to buy him.
On Thursday, the champion batsmen became the first Saurashtra player to hit a century in T20 cricket after he smashed an unbeaten 61-ball 100 in a losing cause against Railways in the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy fixture at Holkar Stadium in Indore. His innings included 14 fours and a six as Saurashtra managed to put a total of 188 after Railways won the toss and asked them to bat first.
The opening pair of Pujara and Harvik Desai put on 85 for the first wicket. Pujara then added another 82 runs with former India superstar Robin Uthappa. Uthappa who was making a comeback after four months showed some form as he scored 46 off 31 balls and hit 5 fours and a couploe of sixes. But the century went in vain as Railways chased the target in the last over itself.
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BRIEF SCORES: Saurashtra: 188-3 (20 Overs) Cheteshwar Pujara 100*(61), Robin Uthappa 46(31), Ashish Yadav 1-30, Anureet Singh 1-43 Railways: 190-5 (19.4 Overs) Mrunal Devdhar 49(20), Pratham Singh 40(30), Dharmendrasinh Jadeja 2-27, Prerak Mankad 1-37