Venkatesh Iyer became the first Kolkata Knight Riders batsman since Brendon McCullum way back in 2008 to score a century in the Indian Premier League (IPL). The left-hander achieved the massive feat during the IPL 2023 match against Mumbai Indians on Sunday and his celebration has already gone viral on social media. The batter scored an impressive 51-ball-104 and after reaching the milestone, he folded his hands and bowed towards the dressing room as part of the celebration. The crowd erupted at that moment and Suhana Khan – daughter of KKR owner Shahrukh Khan – was caught on camera cheering the batsman along with her friends at the Wankhede Stadium.
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The 28-year-old India and KKR batting all-rounder Iyer waged a lone battle with the bat against Mumbai Indians, recording his highest score in the IPL as well as this season, hitting an overall six fours and nine sixes to bring up the Second century of this IPL edition from only 49 balls.
Iyer bettered the record set by Sunrisers Hyderabad’s Harry Brook A couple of nights ago in terms of fastest century this season, who made 100 from 55 balls against KKR.
While Iyer, who injured his knee at the start of his innings while attempting a ramp shot off Cameron Greendominated the Mumbai Indians bowlers, none of the KKR top-order batters could trouble the scorers.
The blow was indeed painful as Iyer, playing in his third IPL season for KKR, hobbled between the wickets to complete runs, but the pain eventually subsided which gave the left-handed batsman a chance to play naturally.
In an innings replete with strokes hit all around the park, Iyer completed his maiden IPL century with five fours and nine sixes.
While most of the KKR batters did not last long enough, Iyer also did well to score heavily in his 48-run stand for the second wicket with Rahmanullah Gurbaz (8), 50 runs for the fourth wicket with Shardul Thakur (14) and 36 for the fifth wicket with Rinku Singh (18).
Cameron Green provided MI with the first breakthrough in the second over when he had N Jagadeesan caught by Hrithik Shokeen for a five-ball duck to rock KKR early.
With Gurbaz struggling to get off the blocks, Iyer played a brisk innings coming in at no. 3 to provide KKR with quick runs in the powerplay, hitting four sixes and two fours as the visiting side reached 55/1 in six overs.
If Iyer kept attacking the MI bowlers from one end, KKR kept losing wickets at the other at regular gaps. Nitish Rana (5) also had a game to forget with the bat, mistiming one to long on off Shokeen and walked away after exchanging a few words with the spin bowler.
KKR’s latest sensation Rinku fell for a run-a-ball 18 with two fours and an all-rounder. Andre Russell freed up his arms, scoring his first double-digit total after three games to finish on 21 not out from 11 balls (3x4s, 1x6s).
Earlier in the innings, MI handed debut to Arjun Tendulkar who opened the attack and got the ball to swing back into the KKR right-handers Jagadesan and Gurbaz, sending down two largely impressive overs.
(With PTI inputs)
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