Australian all-rounder Sean Abbott made history in the T20 Blast for Surrey on Saturday morning [AEST], smashing the equal-fastest century (34 balls) in the competition’s history.
Abbott’s stunning knock came just in time for Surrey, who were 64-4 when the Australian entered and hit 11 sixes to finish 110 not out off 41 deliveries.
Surrey ended up finishing 223-5 and defeating Kent by 41 runs at The Oval, with Abbott even taking fellow Australian Kane Richardson for 30 in the 17th over.
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Abbott equalled the late Andrew Symonds’ record for Kent in 2004, with the 31-year-old telling Sky Sports after the game that the achievement “won’t sink in for a while”.
“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.”
Abbott easily passed his previous career best of just 41 in the knock, which was described as “astonishing” by the Sky Sports commentary team.
It was also tied for the fourth-fastest century of all time in T20 cricket, just four balls slower than the record set by Chris Gayle for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL in 2013.
FASTEST T20 HUNDREDS IN HISTORY
Chris Gayle — 30 balls (Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Pune Warriors in Bangalore, 2013)
Rishabh Pant — 32 balls (Delhi vs Himachal Pradesh in Delhi, 2018)
Wihan Lubbe — 33 balls (North West vs Limpopo in Paarl, 2018)
Andrew Symonds — 34 balls (Kent vs Middlesex in Maidstone, 2004)
Sean Abbott — 34 balls (Surrey vs Kent at The Oval, 2023)
Abbott had been promoted up the order to bat at six after an injury to Jason Roy on Friday, which subsequently saw Surrey move Laurie Evans up to the top alongside Will Jacks.
Skipper Sam Curran told Sky Sports that they had told Abbott moving up the order would involve him taking on “a bit of responsibility”.
“I think he did more than that,” Curran laughed.
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“Pretty amazing. I think I said to him when he was walking off I don’t think that’s going to happen again,” he added.
“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.”
Kent captain Sam Billings was also full of praise for Abbott, describing it as a “pretty special” knock from the Australian.
“I thought we were brilliant as a bowling unit until the 12th or 13th over and then didn’t quite execute,” Billings told Sky Sports.
“But when someone is playing like that, you’ve got to kind of tip your hat to them. That was seriously special.”
Abbott bowled for three overs too, finishing 0-38 with an economy rate of 12.66 and some crucial dot balls late in the piece, joking post-game that he felt like he “played a rugby match”.
“I copped a few bruises, almost bloody headbutted one out there on the fence and copped a few on the fingers but I was just chuffed I got to bowl a few dot balls at the end there,” he said.
I was a bit nervous, I was on my last legs with the engine. But I don’t think that’s going to sink in for a while.
“That was the furthest thing on my radar coming into the ground today. I was just looking forward to my first game at home for Surrey.”
While Richardson gave up 30 to Abbott in one over, the Australian paceman otherwise limited Surrey’s batters to 23 runs off three overs while also taking a wicket.
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“Richo is one of the great men,” Abbott said.
“I actually said out there to Jordan Clark, we got a few away a few overs earlier and I said, ‘I think we have to cash in now because we all know how world class Richo is and that over just managed to get away’, and he actually managed to come back and bowled a really good last over.
“A bit unfortunate with the inside edge last ball. Quite often that last over you can get momentum with the bowling side, even though we’ve got over 200, once they go in to bat they can sort of take the momentum with them.
“He showed his class in that last over to be honest. He came back after we had some success in his previous over and he bowled a good six balls. Hats off to Richo, I think he came back well there.”
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