India skipper Rohit Sharma was in awe of middle-order batter Suryakumar Yadav’s unbeaten blitz of 68 off just 26 balls, saying that some of the shots by the right-hander were those which aren’t written in the book of cricketing shots.
At 94-2 in 13 overs, when KL Rahul’s struggle ended at 36 off 39 balls, Suryakumar walked in and completely changed the complexion of India’s innings. With his drives, slashes, scoops and sweeps apart from audacious wrist play sending the ball all over the park, he remained unbeaten on 68 off 26 balls, hitting six fours and as many sixes. 60 of his 68 runs came off boundaries, scored at a strike-rate of 261.53.
His belligerent stroke-play made other batters in the Indian side look as if they were batting on a very different pitch. While Suryakumar hit 12 boundaries in his 26-ball knock, all other Indian batters managed to hit nine boundaries collectively in 96 balls.
Suryakumar also shared a 98-run stand off just 42 balls with Virat Kohli, who made 59 in 44 balls, hitting four and three sixes in his 31st T20I fifty and brought out some shots in the end as India fetched 78 runs in the last five overs to score a daunting 192-2, something which was a far possibility at the half-way mark score of 70-1.
“The kind of innings he played today, the words will be short. We have seen that with him every now and then. He comes up with suck kinds of knocks. He just comes out and bats fearlessly which is what the team expects from him.”
“Some of the shots he played today, those are not written anywhere in the book. It was very pleasing to watch. Shot selection was also crucial. We know he can play all around the park,” said Rohit in the post-match presentation ceremony.
Rohit went on to say that all players in the team have been informed about showing flexibility while batting anywhere in the order. “We have also informed the group about this (flexibility in the batting order) as well. Most of the guys are ready to take the opportunity and be ready to bat wherever required. That’s the flexibility we need. We’ll take those chances. We are going to try and use the right match-ups.”
Asked to review the match, Rohit was pleased with the batting show, especially in the back end of the innings. But he felt that bowling could have been better. Spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Ravindra Jadeja conceded just 48 runs overall to make up for the 97 runs leaked collectively by young pacers Avesh Khan and Arshdeep Singh to reduce Hong Kong to 152-5 in their 20 overs.
“We batted pretty well to start with, got to a very good score. Came out and bowled reasonably well, we could have done slightly better with the ball.”
Suryakumar, adjudged Player of the Match for his mesmerising knock sealing India’s spot in Super Four stage from Group A, said his plan was to up the tempo of the innings, which by then had been a struggle for Kohli and KL Rahul.
“Some of them (shots) are predetermined, this format is all about what you think and how you prepare before you go out to bat. At the same time, you got to be staying in the present as well. I felt the wicket was a bit slow. My plan was clear.”