Darren Stevens: The entire cricketing world was behind one name yesterday – Darren Stevens. All of a sudden, the number of google searches and news articles regarding this 45-year-old veteran skyrocketed. And if you are still wondering on who this guy is, you have missed one of the greatest innings in the first-class history. This man scored 190 runs of 149 balls and took the priceless wicket of Marnus Labuschagne with the ball. Still not amused? Be ready for more.
What is so special about a 149 ball 190, you may wonder. It was not only the amount of runs he scored nor his age that amused people, but it was also the situation and manner in which it happened that stunned everyone. He came into bat when his side Kent was reeling on 84-6 against Glamorgan in Canterbury. At a time when Kent had all their hopes cut off, a 45-year-old hero arised from nowhere. Known to be a fast-bowling all-rounder, Stevens played like an experienced campaigner and took time to pace his innings. He protected his batting partner Cummins who was struggling at the other end, by taking most of the strike by himself. He took 41 deliveries to score his initial 30 runs and took another 41 deliveries to add 38 more runs.
From there on what we saw was him rampaging the Glamorgan bowlers with ease. He shifted the gear and scored a quickfire 91 in the next phase of 41 balls. In total he scored 190 runs from just 149 balls including 15 fours and fifteen huge sixes, thereby scoring a total of 150 runs just in boundaries.
With this superhuman effort, he took his team to a decent total of 307 from a humiliating stage of 84-6. To understand the importance of this innings, it is worth noticing the 9th wicket partnership between him and Miguel Cummins. Partnership consisted of 166 runs, out of which 165 was scored by Stevens himself. This was undoubtedly the most one-sided century partnership in the history of first-class cricket.
Still not satisfied with his contribution, he proved worthy for his team with the ball as well in the immediate next innings as he dismissed the number three ranked Test batsman Marnus Labuschagne for just 11 runs. He trapped him in front of the wicket, thereby adding a new feather to the fairy-tale performance.
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