Pujara’s century gives Sussex a massive victory over Somerset
At the Cooper Associates County Ground in Taunton, Cheteshwar Pujara‘s iconic century helped the Sussex Sharks defeat Somerset by four wickets in the Metro Bank One Day Cup.
The Indian run machine scored an unbeaten 117 off 113 balls as his team successfully chased down a target of 319 with 11 balls remaining. Tom Alsop provided 60, while Oli Carter made a quick 44.
After winning the toss, Andy Umeed (119) and Curtis Campher (101) each scored their first Somerset hundreds, helping his team to 318 for 6, with Fynn Hudson-Prentice taking 3 for 50.
The Sharks easily ran it down to secure their first victory in the competition at the fourth try, but it appeared to be no more than a par total in the warm weather on a flat batting ground.
Sean Hunt and Hudson delivered excellent opening spells.Prentice held Somerset to 36 for 1 after 10 overs, with Umeed frequently playing and missing and George Thomas being caught behind for 5.
After driving at a full-length ball from Hudson-Prentice and seeing wicketkeeper Carter catch George Bartlett, Somerset was 80 for three in the 20th over after James Rew, who was on 22, lofted a catch to long-off to give off-spinner Jack Carson his first wicket.
After a rocky start, Umeed recovered and set out to improve his career-best List. a score of 77, achieved in the team’s prior contest with Northamptonshire. The opener hit a four off Henry Crocombe across midwicket to reach fifty off just 68 balls.
As the pair increased the tempo, Campher welcomed the arrival of leg-spinner Archie Lenham by hitting his first delivery for six over mid-wicket on his way to a 45-ball half-century. Umeed did the same off the same bowler.
Umeed moved to his first List with a series of well timed strokes. 115 balls and a hundred, with 9 fours and 2 sixes.
When Umeed got an inside edge onto his stumps off Hudson-Prentice, the score was 243 for 4, after the stand with Campher had produced 163 runs from 23 overs.
Sean Dickson’s quick 40 at the conclusion of the innings secured his side of a respectable total after Campher scored his century off 79 balls with nine fours and three sixes before being caught at long-on off Carson.
James (JT) Langridge, a 17-year-old left-arm seamer making his debut for Somerset, was given the new ball, and the wicket-taker did not disappoint, getting Tom Haines to slice a catch to deep backward square in his second over.
When Tom Clark edged a draw shot off of Jack Brooks to wicketkeeper Rew, the score was 47 for 2. However, Alsop was already established at that point, and it seems certain that Pujara would thrive in the late-afternoon sun.
As it turned out, there was hardly a false shot as the pair scored 92 runs in 15 overs. Alsop reached his half-century in 49 balls before nicking a pitch from medium-pacer George Thomas, which led to Rew taking an outstanding catch close to the stumps.
The Indian maestro quietly picked gaps in the field to keep the Sharks up with the required run rate as he followed Alsop to fifty, also off 49 balls. However, the Sharks lost a fourth wicket when Josh Thomas, George’s younger brother, bowled James Coles for 21 runs while pushing him forward.
At 202 for five in the 34th over, Hudson-Prentice appeared to be unlucky to be declared lbw while attempting a reverse sweep on Josh Thomas. Sharks’ hopes therefore lay with Pujara.
Carter provided a late surge, hitting four fours and two sixes, including one incredible tennis shot that cleared the long-off ropes, and served as the perfect counterpunch to Pujara, who easily advanced to his 16th List appearance. 105 balls and a century; hardly seeming to take a chance.