Kane Williamson, widely regarded as a batsman suited for the longest format of the game, proved he is good enough for the shortest format, too. The Kiwi proved his mettle by scoring the first-ever century for Northern Knights (Northern Districts) against Cape Cobras in a Champions League Twenty20 group B match in Raipur on Friday.
Northern Knights, who qualified for the main rounds of the Champions League Twenty20, are unbeaten in the tournament and seem to be getting stronger. The Knights scored 206 for five against Cape Cobras, bettering their 170 for six against Lahore Lions in Raipur on September 14. Williamson's 101 not out off 49 balls was the highlight of the match which the Kiwi team won by 33 runs (Duckworth-Lewis method).
Williamson scored is maiden T20 century and in the process became the sixth batsman to record a hundred in the CLT20. David Warner is the only one to post two hundreds in this competition -- both for New South Wales -- 135 not out off 69 balls versus Chennai Super Kings at Chennai on October 4, 2011 and 123 not out off 68 balls against Royal Challengers Bangalore at Chinnaswamy Stadium on October 7, 2011.
Speaking to CLT20.com, a modest Williamson said he never planned to score a century. "The whole idea was to go out there and play as freely as possible. As you start developing in the format you hope that if you bat long enough you might play an innings like that. It is just nice to contribute in that way and put the team in a good position," he said.
Apart from Warner and Williamson, four other batsmen have posted centuries in the CLT20. Neil Broom, Quinton de Kock, Daniel Harris and Andrew Puttick. Williamson's strike rate of 166.66 is the second highest by a batsman in the CLT20, next only to Chris Gayle's 178.47.
On Friday, the 140-run partnership between Williamson and Anton Devrich became the second highest first-wicket stand in the history of the CLT20, next only to the 147-run partnership between Davy Jacobs and Ashwell Prince for Warriors versus Central Districts at Port Elizabeth on September 18, 2010.
"The nature of T20s is very fickle and it was great to hit a few in the middle today and bat for a long period of time. I just try and improve all the time and adapt my game since it is a different format. I enjoy this format as well and keep learning from it," said the 24-year-old, who has seven Test hundreds and an impressive batting average of forty-plus.
Man of the Match Williamson is New Zealand's most talked about batsman. Prolific in the ODIs, Williamson has three centuries and 11 fifties, with a highest score of 145 not out.
(With inputs from Rajesh Kumar)