When on song, Suryakumar Yadav can have a devastating impact with the bat in T20 cricket.
Going out to bat as the Impact Player for debutant pacer Akash Madhwal, he produced a typical Surya-like knock with excellent assistance from opener Ishan Kishan (75 off 41 balls) as Mumbai Indians overhauled Punjab Kings’ 214/3 to win the game by six wickets at the PCA Stadium in Mohali on Wednesday.
After Liam Livingstone’s unbeaten 82 off 42 balls powered Punjab to beyond 200, Mumbai’s reply began in the worst possible manner as captain Rohit Sharma holed out at the deep off just the third ball of their run chase. Cameron Green was looking good but couldn’t cash in.
The required run rate kept mounting for Mumbai, till Surya (66 off 31 balls) took charge and unleashed those tremendous strokes that has elevated him to the top of the T20I rankings. The swipe and drive over backward point and cover were all back and sailed into the stands as Surya took full toll when Sam Curran erred in length in that game-changing 13th over, which cost Punjab 23.
He hit Curran for a couple of boundaries in that over to bring up his half-century. One of those fours was also a dropped chance by Curran, but it was struck so hard that the Englishman hardly had any time to react.
Surya reached his fifty — his third this season — in style with the trademark pick-up shot over fine leg. Kishan, who was also looking solid during Surya and his match-winning third-wicket stand of 116, then hammered Arshdeep Singh for a six and three fours in the 15th over.
Punjab had a bit of hope when Nathan Ellis and Arshdeep accounted for Surya and Kishan, respectively. But young Tilak Varma (26 not out off 10 balls) smashed Arshdeep for two sixes and a four off the last three balls of the 17th over to virtually shut the door on Punjab.