Australian all-rounder Sean Abbott has pulled off an incredible feat in England's T20 Blast competition, smashing the equal-fastest century in competition history to guide Surrey to victory over Kent. Abbott, who was promoted up the order for the clash, resurrected Surrey's innings after coming to the crease with his side in trouble at 4-64.
Abbott reached his century having faced just 34 deliveries, equalling Andrew Symonds' feat in the English T20 competition from 2004. He more than doubled his previous career-best T20 score of 41, belting 11 sixes in a powerhouse innings.
Incredibly, 10 of those sixes came in just a 17-ball span. It was just four deliveries shy of the fastest century in T20 history, a record held by West Indies great Chris Gayle.
There was some friendly fire in fellow Aussie bowler Kane Richardson, with Abbott blasting his countryman for 30 runs in one prolific over. It was fortunate that Abbott was so dominant with the bat, as he gave away 38 runs for no wickets in his subsequent four over spell after guiding Surrey to what was a match-winning total of 223-5.
Speaking after the match, Abbott said it would take time for the enormity of his innings to truly 'sink in', saying it had been an honour to equal Symonds in such fashion. He described the late Aussie star as a 'hero'.
“I don’t think I’ll get much sleep tonight but to share that one with Roy, he’s a hero of mine and hopefully we get to share a beer upstairs and have a chat about it some day,” Abbott said. “I’m absolutely chuffed with it. I don’t really have the words for it to be honest.”
Promoted up the order by Surrey skipper Sam Curran after an injury to Jason Roy, the captain said someone had needed to step up. He did admit however, that he didn't see this coming.
— RoxRocks (@pepperoxi) May 27, 2023
— Lachlan McKirdy (@LMcKirdy7) May 26, 2023
Sean Abbott was 28 off 17 balls this morning in #T20Blast.
His next 17 balls: 61662164644616166
34 ball ton.
— Tim Michell (@tim_michell) May 26, 2023
Sean Abbott 🤝 Andrew Symonds pic.twitter.com/bGGw6vQ3p7
— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) May 26, 2023
“Pretty amazing. I think I said to him when he was walking off I don’t think that’s going to happen again,” Curran said.
“I think it was just one of those nights where he’s just an unbelievable striker of the ball and that’s what happens in T20 cricket. In the position we were in, 60 for 4, someone had to step up but to step up and get 100 off 30-odd balls is almost too special.”
Opposing captain Sam Billings was left to rue a lack of execution from their bowlers after Abbott arrived at the crease, but gave plenty of plaudits to the Aussie bowler for his standout effort.
“I thought we were brilliant as a bowling unit until the 12th or 13th over and then didn’t quite execute,” Billings said of Kent's fielding effort. “But when someone is playing like that, you’ve got to kind of tip your hat to them. That was seriously special.”
Aussies dominating in England ahead of Ashes
Abbott's innings was far from the only occasion in which Aussie stars have dominated in England ahead of the upcoming Ashes series. The likes of Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith have both enjoyed some major success in the County Championship over the past month.
Smith hasn't been in his best form since arriving in the UK with scores of 30 and three to start the season. However, it clearly hasn't impacted his fielding with Smith taking an absolute screamer at second slip while playing for Sussex earlier in May.
Leicestershire were leading by 27 runs when Rehan Ahmed came to the crease. Henry Crocombe bowled an enticing delivery outside off stump, which prompted the batter to reach for the ball.
The edge went flying to Smith's right, but the Aussie went airborne. Smith took the catch while he was horizontal to send his teammates into rapture.
"Oh my word, that was Steve Smith," the commentator said of Smith's effort. "Unbelievable, what a catch that was. I thought that was past him."
The World No.3 Test batter may be searching for his best form with the bat in hand, but he has still managed to leave the cricket world speechless after his latest 'superman' effort for Sussex.
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