Agarwal outshines Pujara
New Delhi: Midway during the Saurashtra chase, a simple tweet from the Karnataka camp left everyone amused and a bit baffled. Through its Twitter handle @RanjiKarnataka, Karnataka Ranji Team congratulated Cheteshwar Pujara: “Good half century from Che Pujara 53*(101b, 5x4s). Saurashtra need 114 from 72 with 2W. #KARvSAU #VHTrophy.”
Now, a 50 off over 100 balls can rarely be termed “good”, especially if the team needs 114 runs off 72 balls at that stage. Was the Karnataka Ranji team trolling the India No. 3? It’s impossible to say, but minutes later Pujara decided to drop his Test match batting cape and started to hit on the up.
As Saurashtra chased Karnataka’s 253 in the final of the Vijay Hazare Trophy, Pujara had to be cautious for most of his innings as his team had lost wickets regularly.
Pujara brought up his 50 with a late cut in the 38th over, but the team had been reduced to 135/8 by the end of 37th over. The innings was sauntering towards a slow end. In fact it was a procession of sorts. Samarth Vyas, Dharmendra Jadeja, Prerak Mankad and semifinal heroes Ravindra Jadeja and Arpit Vasavada all feel cheaply.
Then Pujara decided to attack. A late cut off Shreyas Gopal was followed by a cut off Prasidh Krishna. Suddenly the momentum began to shift. Karnataka, who had the match in the bag, began to flounder under this unexpected attack. For the first time in the match, Pujara had someone at the other end, Kamlesh Makvana, who was ready to stay on the wicket. A couple of edged boundaries from Makvana off consecutive deliveries raised cheers from the sparse crowd that had gathered to see current India stars, including Pujara, KL Rahul and Karun Nair, perform at the Ferozeshah Kotla stadium.