It’s a format where the bat dominates the ball but dictating terms against the T20 defending champion requires some mental and physical fortitude. Very few have the ability to focus, inject discipline and restraint while facing adversity and go for the carnage when the time is ripe.
Suryakumar Yadav has all these abilities and the middle-order batter was once again at his belligerent best, this time in the decider against Australia in Hyderabad. In a tight chase of 187, Surya walked in at the fall of Rohit Sharma with India reduced to 30/2.
Australia thought it had India on the mat. Instead, three hours later, it turned out to be the opposite as Surya dismantled the opposition en route to an audacious blitz.
A match-winning 69 off just 36 deliveries and a 104-run partnership with Virat Kohli gave India a six-wicket win over the Aussies as Rohit Sharma’s men won the three-match series 2-1.
“Suryakumar was outstanding today and he’s going to be dangerous in the World Cup. He showed what he can do today,” said Australia head coach Andrew McDonald heaping praise on Surya.
McDonald was not only impressed with Surya’s dazzling show but also the manner Axar Patel bowled in the series. Axar took eight wickets in three matches and played a crucial role in the decider by dismissing Steve Smith, Jos Inglis and the dangerous Matthew Wade.
The left-arm spinner was drafted into the side after Ravindra Jadeja was ruled out due to an injury.
“Axar, in particular, had an outstanding series. With Jaddu (Ravindra Jadeja) out everyone thought that it might become a bit of a weakness for India, but they’ve found another one again, which tends to happen,” he said.
Green’s show impresses McDonald
In the absence of David Warner, Cameron Green was promoted up the order and the 23-year-old grabbed the opportunity by hammering two brilliant half-centuries.
“I’ve asked him to show great intent at the top of the order and everything that we’re seeing so far shows that he’s doing that. It’s probably opportunistic, the way that he’s coming in with the opening position with obviously Davey Warner not being here and a couple of other players in our World Cup 15. We thought he had the skill when we did our strategy before we came over here,” McDonald said.
“And he’s taken on some of the best bowlers in world cricket. You could argue Jasprit (Bumrah) is one of the best T20 bowlers ever. So to be able to do that, work your way through that situation again tonight, and do it two out of three times is very impressive and bodes well,” he added.
Australia’s bowling will be beefed up with the return of Mitchell Starc and speaking about the upcoming T20 World Cup and their preparations, McDonald said, “The connection between here and Australia might slightly differ with a little bit more bounce, so some different tactics. Mitchell Starc clearly comes back into the picture, he’s been one of our best death bowlers, so we feel like we’ll get reinforcements there.”
“But I think most death bowling attacks are under the pump with the high skills of the batters these days. Are we keen to get better at death bowling and the answer to that is yes. But we just encourage our guys to make good decisions, execute, and see what happens.”