Prolific Mumbai Indians (MI) batter Suryakumar Yadav will be featuring in his maiden T20 World Cup. He has been rewarded for some excellent performances in domestic cricket and the Indian Premier League (IPL). Suryakumar Yadav has played four T20Is for India so far, scoring 139 runs at a strike rate of 169.51 with two half-centuries.
He has played 115 IPL games to date and has 2341 runs to his name at a strike rate of 135.71 with 13 fifties. In his overall T20 career, the 31-year-old has smashed 4,023 runs at a strike rate of 141.20 with 23 half-centuries.
Suryakumar Yadav’s T20 form in the last 10 games
Suryakumar Yadav played seven matches for MI in the UAE leg of IPL 2021 and had a torrid time. He managed only 144 runs, with 82 (off 40 balls) of them coming in the last match against Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH). Leave aside that smashing knock and Suryakumar Yadav’s scores read - 3, 5, 8, 0, 33 and 13.
Before that, the stroke-maker played the first T20I in Sri Lanka and smashed 50 off 34 balls. It was a match-winning knock as India emerged victorious by 38 runs. Suryakumar Yadav, however, could not feature in the remaining games as COVID-19 struck the Indian camp.
The MI batter got a chance to display his skills with the willow in two of the three T20Is he played against England earlier in the year. In the fourth T20I, he smashed the first ball he faced in international cricket for a six, that too off fast bowler Jofra Archer. He ended up thumping 57 off 31 and followed it up with 32 off 17 in the series decider.
Why Suryakumar Yadav is crucial to the Indian side
Suryakumar Yadav will have a massive responsibility at the T20 World Cup, having been chosen ahead of the likes of Shikhar Dhawan and Shreyas Iyer. With Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul and Virat Kohli likely to occupy the top-three slots, the Mumbai batter is likely to come in at the crucial no.4 position.
Had it not been for Iyer’s injury, he would have been batting in the same position. However, Suryakumar Yadav grabbed the opportunity in his absence and has been preferred over Iyer for the middle order.
A closer look at India’s batting order, and it will not be difficult to figure out that the side will depend heavily on a few big names to perform. Apart from the top-three, Rishabh Pant is there while Hardik Pandya’s form is a concern. Given this scenario, Suryakumar Yadav will have to make a significant contribution.
Suryakumar Yadav’s 3 best T20 performances
The 31-year-old has played some fine knocks in his T20 career over the years. We take a look at three of them.
#1 57 off 31 IND vs ENG in Ahmedabad (4th T20I, March 2021)
Suryakumar Yadav made a fantastic 57 off 31 in his very first international innings (he did not get to bat in his debut match). As mentioned earlier, the first ball he faced from Archer was slammed for six. Coming in to bat at no.3, the newcomer looked at complete ease, hitting six fours and three sixes. A controversial catch by Dawid Malan, which became a matter of intense debate, brought an end to his innings.
Suryakumar Yadav ended up being the highest scorer in the innings as India posted 185 for 7. Pant and Iyer contributed swift 30s. Despite blazing knocks by Jason Roy (40 off 27) and Ben Stokes (46 off 23), India won the contest by eight runs.
#2 71* off 54 MI vs CSK in Chennai (Qualifier 1, IPL 2019)
Suryakumar Yadav came up with a fantastic batting performance as MI got the better of the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) by six wickets in Qualifier 1 of IPL 2019 in Chennai. MI restricted CSK to 131 for 4 while bowling first. However, they lost their openers cheaply and were in a bit of trouble at 21 for 2.
The Mumbai no.3 batter, however, was in sublime form and put CSK out of the contest with a counter-attacking innings. On a turning surface where batting wasn’t easy, Suryakumar Yadav clobbered 10 fours and featured in a third-wicket stand of 80 with Ishan Kishan (28). MI eased to victory by six wickets to book their place in the final.
#3 79* off 43 MI vs RCB in Abu Dhabi (IPL 2020)
Suryakumar Yadav was in blazing form in IPL 2020. In match number 48 of the IPL 2020 against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in Abu Dhabi, he played a fine knock of 79 not out to guide MI to victory in a tense chase of 165.
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MI lost three wickets for 72 and were in a spot of bother. But Suryakumar Yadav whacked 10 fours and three sixes during his scintillating innings. Mumbai lost a couple of more wickets at the other end, but the assured presence of Suryakumar took the team home with five wickets in hand.