Suryakumar Yadav showcases his slow-and-steady version in New York

Suryakumar Yadav
Suryakumar Yadav (Image: BCCI). Suryakumar played with composure v USA

Suryakumar Yadav’s overall strike-rates in the shortest format are as follows – 168.06 in T20Is and 152.05 in T20s. The same explosive batter scored his runs at a strike-rate of just around 100 in India’s seven-wicket win over the USA in the T20 World Cup. The difference here was that Suryakumar’s runs came in some of the toughest conditions you would ever get to see in the shortest format. And they also came in circumstances where India had found themselves in a spot of bother.

Virat Kohli was out for no score. Rohit Sharma finished with just three runs to his name. And Rishabh Pant, one of India’s stalwarts in the win against Pakistan, was done in by a delivery that kept low. The Pant dismissal exemplified the difficulty of batting at the Nassau County Stadium. The bounce wasn’t just uneven but also loopy. Consistent movement off the deck just made batting a little tougher. 

On such a lottery wicket, you need some luck along with courage. Suryakumar got that little rub of the green when he was dropped by Saurabh Netravalkar at short third man. Until then, barring one four, he had mostly dealt in singles. But with the required run-rate steadily climbing upwards, he had to press the accelerator. In the very next over, he stylishly flicked one off Ali Khan. By the time, he nonchalantly lofted Shadley van Schalkwyk inside-out and off the back foot, India had edged ahead.

Suryakumar’s tenacious hand showed that alongside swagger, there is a touch of calm to his game. Perhaps, he would have played differently if India were batting first and trying to set a competitive total on a treacherous pitch. 

Rohit, the India skipper, praised his Mumbai teammate, and said: “He showed he has a different game to him, that’s what you expect from experienced players. Credit to the way he stuck through today to take the game deep and win it for us.”

Suryakumar also stitched an undefeated partnership of 67 with Dube. Dube has gained a reputation for using his big stride to thwack it down the ground, and also target the midwicket region. However, this is a world far away from IPL 2024, which was mostly played on featherbeds. 

On expected lines, Dube struggled to put bat to ball for a while. He manufactured room and skipped down the track but to no avail. There was also a thick edge that scurried away to the fence. Dube, however, hung in there. After a while, he seemed to have gauged the conditions reasonably well as he picked up crucial singles and twos, blended with the occasional big shot. 

Just zoom in a little more on his game and it could be noted that he clipped a few through the on-side. That isn’t exactly a shot Dube is known for on the domestic circuit or in the IPL. So, that should bring cheer to the Indian think-tank.

In normal circumstances, watching Suryakumar’s 360-degree batting requires a sense of disbelief. The kind of astounding shots he plays demands dollops of skill. Yesterday, too, his willow produced a couple of scoops and a sumptuous loft. But his 49-ball 50 would be better remembered for showing another facet of his game: The ability to soak up the pressure and play according to the situation. Maybe, in true Bollywood fashion, Suryakumar’s  long-lost twin brother had taken his place in New York.