cheteshwar pujara
Cheteshwar Pujara (IANS Photo)

Saurashtra star batsman Cheteshwar Pujara was at the receiving end of a hostile reception from an M Chinnaswamy crowd after he received the rub of green in the just concluded Ranji Trophy semi-final clash against Karnataka.

As Pujara walked back on Day 4 of the contest after hitting a century that put his team firmly in control of a chase of 279, a section of the crowd began calling him ‘cheater’ for not walking despite seemingly being caught by wicketkeeper across the two innings.

The first time, he was batting on 1 when the ball kissed his gloves and was caught by the wicketkeeper Srinivas Sharath off Abhimanyu Mithun. Karnataka players broke into celebrations, but the umpire didn’t raise the finger leaving them shell-shocked. Pujara went on to score 45 off 99 with three fours and a six.

The second it occurred against R Vinay Kumar with Pujara batting on 34. Having reduced Saurasthra to 68/3, Vinay induced an edge that again nestled nicely into the hands of keeper Sharath.

The bowler had sprinted towards the other end, pumped up at having secured perhaps the most crucial wicket. However, this time also, Saiyed Khalid, was unmoved.
Pujara went on to score a match-winning unbeaten 131.

Pujara remained rooted to his crease both the times, not deciding to walk back that prompted the partisan crowd to boo him at stumps.

Centuries from Pujara and Sheldon Jackson sealed a comfortable five-wicket win for Saurashtra as they entered the Ranji Trophy final for the third time.

Resuming on their overnight tally of 224/3 in the second semi-final of the Ranji Trophy 2018-19, Saurashtra took 17.4 over to seal the deal at the cost of two more wickets. They made 279/5 in 91.4 overs to set up final clash with defending champions Vidarbha.