Venkatesh Iyer Scores Century In Vijay Hazare Trophy, Copies Rajinikanth In Celebration On Actor’s Birthday. Watch video


Venkatesh Iyer smashed 151 with the bat and took two wickets with the ball as he helped Madhya Pradesh beat Chandigarh by five runs in a Group D match of the Vijay Hazare Trophy in Rajkot on Sunday. Venkatesh, who is seen as a India prospect to fill in the Hardik Pandya slot across white-ball formats, blazed his way to a 113-ball 151 (8×4, 10×6) to power Madhya Pradesh to a challenging 331/9. Chandigarh responded in style with centuries from skipper Manan Vohra (105) and Ankit Kaushik (111) and needed 32 runs from the last 12 balls. Bowling the penultimate over, Venkatesh gave another breakthrough dismissing Gurinder Singh en route to his 2/64 from 10 overs that included a maiden as Chandigarh could only manage 326/8.

After completing his century, Venkatesh copied an Rajinikanth’s iconic salute in celebration.

Watch the video of his celebration here:

Madhya Pradesh young gun Avesh Khan led the bowling show with 3/72, while Puneet Datey also chipped in with two wickets along with Venkatesh.

The win helped Madhya Pradesh (+0.590) remain at second place behind Kerala (+0.778) who nosed ahead in group D table with a five-wicket win over Chhattisgarh.

Maharashtra (+0.074) slipped to third place despite their four-wicket win over Uttarakhand as it’s a three-way race for the knockouts from the group of death — D — with one match left in the league.

Opting to bat at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium here, Madhya Pradesh were down in the dumps losing opener Kuldeep Gehi (0) and Rajat Patidar (2) cheaply and were reduced to 56/4 inside 14 overs.

Coming at No 6, Venkatesh soaked the pressure in company with skipper Aditya Shrivastava (70 off 80 balls; 4×4, 1×6), the duo stitching 122 runs for the fifth wicket to repair the early damage.

Venkatesh displayed some clean hitting and reached his halfcentury in 45 balls and then stepped it up further to get to his third List A century, his second in three matches, in just 88 balls.

He took just 22 balls to cruise to 150 and take Madhya Pradesh past the 300-mark.

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Venkatesh now has 348 runs from four innings at a strike-rate of 138.64 to be second behind Maharashtra ‘run machine’ Ruturaj Gaikwad in the most runs list of this season’s Vijay Hazare Trophy.

(with PTI inputs)

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