Cricket is an amazing game that produces instant heroes

  • Sahil Chauhan of Estonia puts Nicholas Pooran’s effort to shade
By Prabhjot Singh

Cricket is an amazing game that produces instant heroes. While Nicholas Pooran of West Indies was on a record-shattering spree against Afghanistan in the last group game of the T20 World Cup, elsewhere in Cyprus, Sahil Chauhan of little-known Estonia scripted history, smashing the quickest T20 century in 27 balls.
Neither Cyprus nor Estonia are any entities big enough to qualify for the T20 World Cup, a 6-match series played between the two teams at Episkopi produced some amazing records. The three-day six-game series featuring several players of Indian origin, including Sahil Chauhan for Estonia and Taranjit Singh for Cyprus, had the game statisticians busy. It may be a mere coincidence that Sahil Chauhan’s unprecedented 27-ball century coincided with Nicholas Pooran’s explosive innings of 98.
Sahil Chauhan also created a record of hitting 18 hits to the maximum in his unbeaten innings of 144 made from 44 balls. His fastest century also broke Jan-Nicol Loftie Eton’s mark of the fastest T20I hundred from 33 balls. It was also the fastest century in all T20s, thus eclipsing Chris Gayle’s 30-ball innings in IPL in 2013.
In the first match of the series, Sahil went cheaply. In the second, Estonia had a dismal start while chasing a huge target of 191 for seven. Unperturbed by the early dismissals of openers, Sahil started on an aggressive note and took command of the game with his lusty hits to the maximum, smashing a record 18 sixes, to achieve a record strike rate of 351.21 and help his team win the game.
Thousands of miles away, the batters of the host West Indies were in terrific form. They not only recorded the highest aggregate of all Group matches – 218 for five in 20 overs – against Afghanistan but also saw wicketkeeper-batter Nicholas Pooran climbing to the top position as an individual scorer. He made 98 to overtake Aaron Jones of USA who remained unbeaten on 94 in the opening game against Canada.
The explosive Nicholas Pooran hammered 36 runs in one over of Omarzai’s bowling. He got 6, 5NB, 5WD, 0, 4LB, 4, 6, 6 from the over that had eight balls because of a no-ball and a wide each.
Pooran with his superb feat joined a select band of cricketers who have scored 36 runs from an over in the T20 format of the game. Others on the elite list include three Indian players. Yuvraj became the first batter to score 36 runs in an over when he faced England’s Stuart Broad and hit the pacer for six maximums in one over. Rohit Sharma and Rinku Singh are the other two Indian batters.
During his 98-run innings, Pooran smoked eight sixes, taking his tally to 128 in the T20I format and past West Indies great Chris Gayle’s total of 124.
West Indies put to bat first made its intentions obvious by going for big shots. However, opener Brandon King struggled to get the start and fell prey to left Omarzai after scoring 7 runs off 6 balls. From there, Pooran and Johnson Charles played their shots to put the Caribbeans in command.
Pooran’s brutal assault of 98 runs propelled West Indies to 218/5, its highest first-innings total in the ongoing marquee event and also its highest total in the T20 World Cups.
After a day’s rest, the next round of the T20 World Cup – Super 8 – will start Wednesday morning with the USA taking on South Africa. In the evening, West Indies will play the defending champions England. The two sides have a prolific cricketing history, with the Men in Maroon ensuring a dominant display at home against England in recent years.
Eight teams that have made it to Super 8 have been divided into two groups. Group A: India, Australia, Afghanistan, Bangladesho Group B: USA, England, West Indies, South Africa.
Fawwaz Baksh, ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024 Tournament Director said:
“We are getting down to the business end of the tournament and fans can look forward to an exciting Super 8 stage. It is also great to see the two hosts, West Indies and USA qualify for the Super 8, and especially the USA, which is competing in an ICC Men’s T20 World Cup for the first time. With other tournament favorites such as India, Australia, England and South Africa also in the mix, together with the impressive Afghanistan and Bangladesh teams, the next couple of weeks promises to be a cricketing spectacle.”
Four of the Super 8 qualifiers have won the World Cup previously, India, England, West Indies and Australia. Super 8 matches will be played across four West Indies venues: Antigua and Barbuda (four), Barbados (three), Saint Lucia (three) and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (two).Each team will play every other team in its group once, with the top two sides in each group qualifying for the semi-finals, to be played in Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana on 26 and 27 June, respectively.

(Prabhjot Singh is a senior journalist. He writes with equal aplomb on sports and politics. He can be reached at

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