Sheldon Jackson (106 not out, 50b, 7x4, 8x6) and Paras Dogra (51, 18b, 2x4, 6x6) justified the tag of professionals to help Puducherry chase down a record target of 227 set by Andhra in a Group E tie of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy in Mumbai on Friday.
Dogra set the chase on course, dominating the 98-run partnership with Jackson for the third wicket before being brilliantly caught by Ashwin Hebber on the long-off boundary.
Jackson then took over and ensured that Puducherry opened the account by crossing the gargantuan target with four balls to spare and scoring his maiden T20 hundred.
Puducherry, thus, registered the highest successful run chase in the history of the domestic T20 tournament. Earlier in the day, Kerala created a record by scoring 218-4, chasing Delhi’s 212. But records were broken in a matter of few hours.
With Andhra striking thrice in three overs when Ashith Rajiv joined Jackson at the crease, Puducherry was in danger of falling short of the target.
But with 32 required off 14 balls, Jackson took a calculated risk against left-arm pacer C. Stephen to bring the target down to 22 off 12.
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In the next over, Ashith’s twin boundaries off K.V. Sasikanth brought Puducherry in sight of the victory. And Jackson then ensured that Andhra skipper Ambati Rayudu’s decision to throw the ball to leggie S.K. Ismail for the final over backfired with a straight six that brought his hundred and a lofted drive over covers.
Jackson’s effort overshadowed Andhra’s stupendous effort of piling on 226 for four after being inserted to bat first at the Wankhede Stadium. The stars of the night for Andhra were opener K.S. Bharat (62, 34b, 4x4, 5x6) and Rayudu (62 not out, 26b, 5x4, 5x6).
Rayudu cut loose at the death to help Andhra comfortably cross the 200-run mark. But in the end, Jackson ensured it wasn’t enough.
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