NEW DELHI • An astonishing innings of 300 not out has propelled Mohit Ahlawat into cricket's history books - and prompted the opening batsman to put his name forward for the lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL) - after he became the first player to score a triple century in a Twenty20 match.
Appearing for his team Maavi XI - a semi-professional team who had invited him to join them for a Friends Premier League match at the last moment - he creamed 39 sixes and 14 fours from just 72 balls to reach the remarkable milestone.
Having reached 250 after 18 overs, the wicket-keeper-batsman finally decided to throw caution to the wind, and he added a further 50 runs off the final two overs, including 34 from the last six balls - and five consecutive sixes to finish.
He ended unbeaten on exactly 300 as Maavi posted a commanding total of 416-2 from their 20 overs at Delhi's Lalita Park.
In the least surprising news of the day, the run chase proved too much for the opposition, Friends XI, who despite scoring a respectable 200 in their innings still fell short by 216 runs.
The knock may open the door for Ahlawat, who has played three first-class games for Delhi in the domestic Ranji Trophy championship, to a big-money IPL contract.
He also earned a trial with the Delhi Daredevils, with the players auction to take place in a fortnight.
"Yes, I have put my name in (the) IPL auction but I am not sure if this knock will help make people notice me," ABP Live quoted the 21-year-old as saying.
"The attack was good but after seeing off the new ball, I decided to just bat aggressively and was really timing the ball well."
The highest international T20 score - by Aaron Finch of Australia off 63 balls against England in 2013.
In 2007, Sri Lankan Dhanuka Pathirana scored 277 from 72 balls in a local Lancashire T20 league match. But in the top tier of the professional game, no player has hit even a double century.
The benchmark was set by Chris Gayle in a 2013 IPL match between the Royal Challengers Bangalore and Pune Warriors, but the West Indian's 175 from 66 balls pales in comparison to Ahlawat's efforts.
"I saw the scoreboard, and I was nearing my 200 with five overs to go, so I decided to go for the kill," said Ahlawat, who hails from a family of farmers. "I reached 250 with just two overs to go, I told my partner, 'let me try if I can make 300', and I got 30-odd off the last over."
Sanjay Bhardwaj, Ahlawat's coach at the LB Shastri Cricket Academy in Delhi, said he was not surprised by his protege's heroics.
"This doesn't surprise me. He is an aggressive batsman who hits it long but also has a clear sense of the game," he said.
Bhardwaj, who has coached several Indian players including the left-handed opener Gautam Gambhir, said news of Ahlawat's performance had spread so quickly that he had already been tapped by the Daredevils.
"You won't be able to reach him on the phone today as the Daredevils called him for a trial after they heard of his knock," he said.
THE GUARDIAN, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE