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Raina rules over Proteas

May 02, 2010 22:26 IST

Suresh RainaSuresh Raina became the first Indian batsman to crack a Twenty20 international century, helping his team register a 14-run victory over South Africa and progress to the Super Eights at the ICC World Twenty20.

Raina continued his good batting form from the recently-concluded IPL as he smashed a quickfire 60-ball 101.

The left-hander becomes the third batsman to score a century in international cricket after West Indies captain Chris Gayle and New Zealand's Brendon McCullum.

Gayle's 57-ball 117 against South Africa had made him the first to achieve the rare distinction in 2007 and then the Kiwi joined the West Indian after hitting an unbeaten 116 off 56 balls against Australia earlier this year.

Raina's blistering knock, which helped India pile up a intimidating 186 for five, was bejewelled with nine fours and five sixes.

The 23-year-old started off steadily, taking his time to get used to the pace of the wicket before unleashing his shots in the final overs. He brought up his century in some style when he hit Albie Morkel for a six over midwicket helping India amass 75 runs in the last five overs to take control.

"It's a nice feeling. So far this has been a good year for me, I am hitting the ball well. We had a good partnership (with Yuvraj Singh)," Raina said after the innings.

"I was looking to hit the ball straight but was not playing any pre-planned strokes. If you play 40 to 50 balls and you can score 80 to 85 runs.

"I had batted well in the IPL and knew that number three is crucial (position) and if you bat well, sure you can get a hundred," said Raina, who had made 520 runs in 16 matches in the IPL.

Photograph: Reuters