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Dhawan misses world record by 20 runs

 PRETORIA, Aug 12 (PTI): India’s new batting sensation Shikhar Dhawan today gave yet another exhibition of stunning strokeplay by smashing a blistering 248 off 150 balls against South Africa A here, missing out on a world record feat by just 20 runs.

27-year-old Dhawan, who clobbered 30 boundaries and seven sixes in his superlative knock, became the second highest individual scorer in the history of List A games (limited overs matches) behind former England and Surrey batsman Alistair Brown. Brown had scored 268 for Surrey against Glamorgan at Oval back on July 19, 2002.

If Dhawan’s first 100 came off only 86 balls, the second hundred came off only 46 balls as he raced to his first List A double hundred in only 132 balls with a push off left-arm seamer Beuran Hendricks’ bowling at the LC de Villiers Oval.

During his rampaging knock, the stylish left-hander surpassed two of his illustrious senior teammates Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag, who had scored double centuries in one-day internationals which also qualify as List A games.

On personal best of 220, Dhawan created a national record by surpassing Sehwag’s best of 219 in an one-dayer against West Indies at Indore back in 2011.

Just when it looked that he would eclipse the world record, he was caught by wicketkeeper Dane Vilas of Rusty Theron’s bowling trying another slog shot. Dhawan added 285 runs in only 33.5 overs with his skipper Cheteshwar Pujara, who also scored a century.

Such was his domination that out of his 162 out of his 248 runs came in only 37 scoring strokes.

Dhawan made a memorable Test debut against Australia earlier this year with a brilliant 187 and has not looked back since then as he became the best batsman in India’s victorious Champions Trophy campaign recently.

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 Rolief van der Merwe also 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.

He reached his 100 off 86 balls with a four of Van der Merwe’s bowling. As if to celebrate his milestone, he lofted pacer Theron over cover for successive sixes.

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