Far away from the rigour of bilateral series and the glitz of the Hundred, Chesteshwar Pujara is tumbling records for fun at Sussex in the ongoing Royal London ODI Cup. On Tuesday evening at Hove, Pujara slammed 132 off just 90 deliveries and forged a mammoth 240-run stand with Tom Alsop to propel Sussex to a daunting total.
Pujara has had a steady start to his innings, where he played too many dot balls and relied only on singles, but his approach changed as he was about to reach fifty. At one point, Pujara was on 34 after facing 43 balls, in the space of the next eleven balls, he struck three quick fours and a six to move to 55 off 52.
In the 39th over, he smashed two fours and as many six off Martin Andersson to move to 98, and completed his century an over later. His innings finally came to an end after he holed out to Max Holden.
With this knock, Pujara has moved past both Virat Kohli and Babar Azam to become the batter with the second-highest List A average. Only Australia’s Michael Bevan and England’s Sam Hain are ahead of Pujara, whose average now reads 57.48 in 109 innings. Both Babar and Kohli’s average is a shade below 57.
In pursuit of 401, Middlesex could only manage 243 before being bowled out. They will now play the semi-final against the winner of the Lancashire vs Nottinghamshire fixture at their home ground.
Only thrice in the eight innings, Pujara failed to cross half-century for Sussex in the tournament. With over 600 runs to his name, the Test specialist is the second highest-run getter in Royal London Cup, only behind Middlesex’s Stephen Eskinazi.
Earlier this year, Pujara forced his way back into the Indian Test side after putting up a series of big scores in the County Championships. He amassed 1094 runs at an average of 109.40. With no more Tests lined up until December 2022, Pujara is playing all forms of cricket to be in touch.
Lead image: Cheteshwar Pujara/twitter