Suryakumar Yadav had to wait for nine seasons for this moment!
At the Wankhede Stadium - his home ground - on Friday evening, it was finally a dream come true for the swashbuckling batter as his maiden Indian Premier League (IPL) century (103 n.o., 49b, 11x4 6x6) guided Mumbai Indians to a 27-run win against Gujarat Titans.
MI, which bolstered its playoffs hopes, rode on Suryakumar’s highest individual score in the tournament to reach 218 for five - becoming the first side to register five 200-plus totals in an IPL season - before Akash Madhwal (three for 31) restricted Titans to 191 for eight.
As the Titans bowlers struggled to grip the ball towards the end of the first innings, Suryakumar batted with elegance and amassed 54 runs in the last three overs. He played shots all across the ground, before bringing up his century with a six off the final delivery of the innings. He raised his arms in celebration as the home crowd gave him a standing ovation.
Titans relied on their world-class bowlers for early breakthroughs after putting Mumbai Indians in, but Mohammad Shami leaked 17 runs off his second over as openers Rohit Sharma and Ishan Kishan laid the foundation for the team’s tall total.
Rohit plundered 14 runs off Mohit Sharma’s first over, and on a batting paradise, Mumbai Indians was comfortably placed at 61 for no loss in the PowerPlay.
Rashid Khan (four for 30) struck twice right after the PowerPlay, removing Rohit and Ishan in a span of four deliveries, and Nehal Wadhera, too, followed suit. But a determined Suryakumar forged a crucial 65-run stand with Vishnu Vinod (30, 20b, 2x4, 2x6), who featured in an IPL game after 2017.
While chasing, Titans lost Shubman Gill, Wriddhiman Saha and Hardik Pandya inside the first four overs, with Madhwal and Jason Behrendorff tightening the screws. David Miller and Vijay Shankar attempted to rebuild before Piyush Chawla dismissed the latter right after the PowerPlay.
Kumar Kartikeya also chipped in with two wickets as Titans reeled at 103 for 8. Back then, not many would have imagined that the touring side would drag the innings till the final over, but Rashid spiced things up with an unbeaten 32-ball 79 (3x4, 10x6) and forged an unbeaten 88-run stand with Alzarri Joseph. The Afghan all-rounder entertained the crowd with some towering sixes.
He hammered two maximums in the 18th over, off Cameron Green, to bring up his fifty and in the final over, with 48 needed, he made batting look easy, hammering Kartikeya for three sixes. Though he failed to guide the team home, Rashid’s knock denied Mumbai Indians a Net Run Rate (NRR) advantage.
Until the 14th over, Mumbai was dreaming of bettering its NRR amid an intense battle for a playoff spot, but the Afghan star made sure that the margin of defeat was much lesser.
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