It was a memorable evening for Suryakumar Yadav as the Mumbai Indians star single-handedly made a mockery of a 165-run chase against Royal Challengers Bangalore in their high-pressure IPL 2020 match on Wednesday. It was the battle for the top spot and Suryakumar made sure MI got there and edged closer to the play-offs spot.
Suryakumar Yadav made a statement as he hit a classy 79 not out in just 43 balls, days after being overlooked for the Australia tour. Despite consistent performances in the past across all formats at the domestic level, the Mumbai batsman had been overlooked. However, the upcoming tour of Australia was being looked at as Suryakumar’s best chance for an India call-up as he was in fine form in the IPL.
The selection committee’s decision to not include Suryakumar in the jumbo white-ball squads received criticism as former players and experts questioned his continued absence. However, Suryakumar decided to let his bat do the talking as he was in dominant form against a quality RCB bowling attack. Suryakumar did not pay much heed to the reputations of the likes of Yuzvendra Chahal and Dale Steyn as he tackled the RCB threat with ease.
More than Suryakumar’s skills, it was his composure and steely resolve that caught the attention of the cricket fraternity. At one point when Suryakumar was batting on 40, RCB skipper Virat Kohli tried to needle him by walking up to him in a bid to have a few words. However, all that Suryakumar did was stare straight into the eyes of the India captain and walk away without striking a conversation.
While Suryakumar’s gesture won him praise on social media, Kohli was slammed for trying to needle the MI batsman, who was putting on a show days after the India squad snub.
Mumbai Indians came up with a witty post, reacting to the photo of Virat Kohli and Suryakumar Yadav staring at each other: “He came, He stared, He Conquered”.
— Mumbai Indians (@mipaltan) October 29, 2020
Notably, Suryakumar Yadav remained unbeaten as he hit the winning runs with 5 balls to spare. The 30-year-old took off his helmet and signalled to the dressing room, seemingly telling them to not worry as he was determined to get the job done for his team.
Mumbai Indians’ stand-in captain Kieron Pollard revealed that Suryakumar was feeling let down after the selection snub. “Deep down inside he must be very very disappointed to not have donned the blue for India. He just keeps getting better. Again as an individual if you keep staying consistent, you will be rewarded,” Pollard said.
Right after the match-winning knock, India head coach Ravi Shastri took to social media and urged Suryakumar to be strong and patient.
India announced jumbo squads for the much-anticipated Australia tour, starting November 27 with the ODI series. Virat Kohli will lead the limited-overs squads while KL Rahul has been picked as vice-captain in the absence of Rohit Sharma who was not named in the squads due to injury concerns.