Syed Mushtaq Ali T20: Sikkim suffer Iyer ire

Shreyas Iyer literally hit sixes at will against a bowling attack, dominated by dibbly-dobbly bowlers who didn’t even match the pace of a club cricketer in established cricket centres.

Shreyas Iyer celebrates his ton against Sikkim in Indore on Thursday.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

 

After each of his five sixes — spread across a four off the fourth ball — in the only over Tashi Pintso bowled at the Emerald Heights International School ground, the Mumbai bench was feeding Shreyas Iyer a countdown to his hundred.

But even after reaching the milestone in only 38 balls, Iyer was in no mood to spare a hapless Sikkim bowling attack. By the time Iyer finally holed out in the deep, he had smashed a plethora of records in a Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy Group C match that lived up to its billing of a no-contest.

“I wanted to get a hundred as soon as I realised I was batting in the 80s. I thought I would stop hitting sixes (after 100) but if I see the ball in my slot, it’s really hard to control it,” said Iyer, after smashing a record 55-ball 147, studded with 15 sky-rocketing sixes.

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When Sikkim, the newbies of domestic cricket, got rid of Mumbai openers Ajinkya Rahane and Prithvi Shaw cheaply, it would have hoped for a lesser beating. But Iyer and Suryakumar Yadav, who shattered partnership records during their 213-run association for the third wicket, ensured Sikkim boys got a first real taste of top-class cricket.

Iyer literally hit sixes at will against a bowling attack, dominated by dibbly-dobbly bowlers who didn’t even match the pace or variations of a club cricketer in established cricket centres. Iyer didn’t have any complaints.

“Such matches you have got to enjoy yourself. You have been working so hard throughout the year and this is one of those matches when you can actually go out and literally enjoy,” he said.

In fact, Iyer admitted that he struggled to cope with lack of pace early on in his innings and had to adjust his stance to ensure the ball finds the sweet spot of his willow.

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“At the start, I was finding it really difficult to hit the ball because there was no pace, so I started standing two steps ahead to one of the pacers and as soon as I started hitting the ball, I came into my flow,” he said. “Thereon, I decided to continue in the same flow without thinking much about where the team is going to end up.”

Mumbai will be hoping Iyer continues in the same vein against a potent Punjab attack on Friday.

Records

Mumbai’s 258 for four was the third-highest T20 total and seventh-highest overall in T20

Iyer eclipsed Rishabh Pant’s unbeaten 128 (for DD vs SRH in May 2018) to register the highest individual score by an Indian in T20

Iyer’s 147 included 15 sixes, the most by an Indian in a T20 innings, overhauling Pant’s 12. Iyer is now tied fourth along with Chris Gayle in the overall list, behind Gayle’s 18 (for Riders vs Dynamites in Dec 2017), 17 (for Essex vs Sussex in June 2008) and Dasun Shanaka (for Sinhalese vs Saracens in Jan 2016)

Iyer and Yadav’s partnership of 213 runs was the highest for the third wicket in all T20 cricket, bettering unbroken 184 by Alex Hales and AB de Villiers for Riders versus Dynamites in Bangladesh Premier League in January 2019

Iyer and Yadav’s 213-run stand is the fourth-highest partnership across T20 cricket, following 229 by Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers (for RCB vs Gujarat Lions in May 2016), 223 by Aaron Finch and D’Arcy Short (for Australia vs Zimbabwe in July 2018) and unbroken 215 by Kohli and de Villiers (for RCB vs Mumbai Indians in May 2015)