Shikhar Dhawan smashed his way into the record books with a breathtaking 248-run knock as India ‘A’ registered a 39-run victory over a fighting South Africa ‘A’ and into the tri-series final, here on Monday.
The 27-year-old Delhi left-hander blasted a 150-ball 248, which is only the second highest individual List-A score behind former Surrey batsman Alistair Brown’s 268 against Glamorgan at the Oval, back on July 19, 2002.
Riding on Dhawan’s brilliance and some solid support from skipper Cheteshwar Pujara (109 not out), India A amassed a mammoth 433 for three in 50 overs.
The target was a tall-order for the home team but its batsmen fought hard before being bowled out for 394 in 48.4 overs.
Hendricks, Jaarsveld hit tons
Reeza Hendricks (102, 78b, 12x4, 2x6) and Vaughn van Jaarsveld’s (108, 91b, 7x4, 5x6) centuries were not good enough to take the hosts past the finishing line.
India ‘A’ will meet Australia ‘A’ in the final on Wednesday.
The day, undoubtedly, belonged to Dhawan, who hit 30 boundaries and seven sixes in his innings during which he surpassed Sachin Tendulkar’s 200 not out against South Africa in 2010 at Gwalior and Virender Sehwag’s 219 against West Indies in Indore back in 2011.
If Dhawan’s first 100 came off 86 balls, the second hundred came off only 46 balls as he raced to his maiden List-A double hundred in only 132 balls with a push off left-arm seamer Beuran Hendricks’ bowling at the LC de Villiers Oval.
Just when it looked that he would eclipse the world record, he was caught by wicketkeeper Dane Vilas off Rusty Theron’s bowling, trying another slog shot.
Such was his domination that 162 of his 248 runs came in only 37 scoring strokes.
Dhawan added 285 runs in only 33.5 overs with his skipper Pujara, who also helped himself to a three-figure mark off 97 balls and hit eight boundaries.
Dhawan started smashing bowlers from the word ‘go’ as the first ball of the match bowled by seamer Hardus Viljoen was driven towards long-on for a boundary.
In Viljoen’s second, and the third over of the innings, Dhawan hit the bowler for three consecutive boundaries, something he repeated when left-arm spinner Roelof van der Merwe came into bowl.
The moment a bowler pitched short, Dhawan rocked back to pull the deliveries in the region between deep mid-wicket and deep square-leg.
If he got fuller deliveries, he launched into it to ferociously drive it in the arc between cover and mid-off.
If there was width outside the off-stump, then the square cut came into play.
As if to celebrate his milestone, he lofted pacer Theron over cover for successive sixes. Theron (one for 98 in 10 overs) and Viljoen (one for 94 in 8 overs) were taken to the cleaners as they gave away 192 runs in 18 overs courtesy Dhawan.
A whopping 827 runs were scored off 98.4 overs.
Young fast bowler Ishwar Chand Pandey (four for 76) did get vital breakthroughs in the slog overs but not before getting a pasting from the Proteas batsmen.
The scores: India ‘A’ 433 for three in 50 overs (S. Dhawan 248, C. Pujara 109 n.o., M. Vijay 40) bt South Africa ‘A’ 394 in 48.4 overs (R. Hendricks 102, V. van Jaarsveld 108, I. Pandey four for 76).