A 12-year-old record for the highest margin of runs to win a T20I game was broken by the Romanian team Thursday. Romania beat Turkey by 173 runs at the Romania Cup at the Moara Vlasiei Cricket Ground in Ilfov County, breaking the record held by Sri Lanka, who had beaten Kenya at the inaugural T20I World Cup in 2007 by 172 runs.
A key architect of the victory was Indian-origin batsman Sivakumar Periyalwar, who scored the first-ever century for Romania in T20I cricket. The software engineer scored an unbeaten 105 off just 40 deliveries to take his team to a daunting 226 for 6 in 20 overs.
Asked about how it felt to become the first T20I centurion for Romania, Periyalwar struggled for words.
“I can’t explain because I am an engineer working at a software company here. I used to play on weeekends for Cluj Cricket Club. The last two years we were the champions of the national T20 tournament. Based on my performance I got selected in the national team,” he told indianexpress.com.
Periyalwar was born in the town of Sivakasi in Tamil Nadu, and was among the millions of youngsters in the country who aspired to play cricket.
“Actually, when I was a child I participated in Under-15, Under-22 and Under-25 tournaments back home. After completion of my graduation I shifted to Romania in 2015. But I still had passion for cricket and wanted to play the game again. I got to know about the cricket matches in Romania and joined the Cluj Cricket Club,” he said.
The right-handed batsman got to the three-figure mark in the final over of Romania’s innings. However, Periyalwar said he had no idea that he was approaching a major milestone.
“Actually, I had no idea (laughs). After 15 overs, I started to hit and go for a big score and increase the run rate. My teammates encouraged me to hit more boundaries. I just wanted to get a big score on the board for the team,” he said, before hanging up to join his team for their warm-up ahead of their next clash.
Chasing a daunting total of 227, Turkey could manage only 53 runs and were bundled out in 13 overs. Romanian bowler Cosmin Zavoiu took three wickets for just four runs in a single over.
The 31-year-old Periyalwar also played in the European cricket league alongside Pavel Florin, the bowler who became an internet sensation thanks to his bizarre bowling action.
The Ramesh Satheesan-led Romanian side have won two matches in the tournament so far. They beat Austria in the first league match beating them by 31 runs. Satheesan was the pick of the bowlers, taking three wickets for 14 runs in three overs.
Romania are currently at the top of the points table with two wins. They face Luxemburg in their next match on Friday.