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regular-article-logo Saturday, 22 June 2024

T20I series: Team India's Suryakumar Yadav pours runs, but South Africa dry

Kuldeep finishes off job with five-wicket haul as series ends tied

Our Bureau Calcutta Published 15.12.23, 06:15 AM
Man of the Match Suryakumar Yadav en route to his 56-ball century in the final T20I against South Africa at the Wanderers, Johannesburg, on Thursday.

Man of the Match Suryakumar Yadav en route to his 56-ball century in the final T20I against South Africa at the Wanderers, Johannesburg, on Thursday. Twitter

When Suryakumar Yadav expresses himself and keeps getting his execution right, it usually spells doom for the opposition.

T20 is a format where Surya rarely puts a foot wrong. In what was a must-win game for his team to draw level in the series, the skipper blasted a brilliant 56-ball 100 (4x7, 6x8) — his fourth in T20Is — that was pivotal to an unchanged India bulldozing to a 106-run win over South Africa in the final T20I at the Wanderers in Johannesburg on Thursday. The series thus ended 1-1.

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Surya’s blistering hundred and his massive 112-run third-wicket stand with opener Yashasvi Jaiswal (60 off 41 balls) propelled India to 201/7 after they were put in. The South Africans, as it turned out, read the conditions wrong.

The India pacers, particularly Mohammed Siraj, got the ball to move even while there was enough turn on offer for spinners Ravindra Jadeja (2/25) and Kuldeep Yadav (5/17). The pitch, looking excellent for batting early on with clear skies, clearly wasn’t easy for the batters in the second half with the Proteas getting bundled out for 95 in 13.5 overs.

The inexperience in South Africa’s pace attack — with both Marco Jansen and Gerald Coetzee released from the squad owing to their preparations for the two-Test series — was another aspect that had to be factored in. But all said and done, it turned out to be another SKY (as Surya is referred to by his teammates) special — exhilarating strokeplay on both sides of the wicket, with composure and precision in finding the gaps.

Becoming the first batsman to score T20I tons in four separate countries, Surya’s stroke-making was at its peak particularly in the 13th over when he smashed Andile Phehlukwayo for three maximums and a four.

This being India’s last away T20I before next year’s T20 World Cup, it was indeed a game well played.

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