'Wanted to put Saurashtra on back foot': Suryakumar after smashing 134

Suryakumar Yadav scored 134 off 130 balls against Saurashtra on the third day to put Mumbai back in control of the Ranji Trophy game.

Yadav struck 20 boundaries during the course of his whirlwind knock. (FILE IMAGE)   -  VIVEK BENDRE

Suryakumar Yadav hasn’t had the best of the last one month. After Mumbai suffered back-to-back humiliating losses to Railways and Karnataka at home, Suryakumar had an ordinary outing with the willow during India A’s three one-day games in New Zealand.

Upon his return from the India A series, he found out that the Mumbai selectors had decided to stick with Aditya Tare, who had replaced Surya for the previous three games, as captain. To make matters worse, he received a bad decision in the first innings against Saurashtra, resulting in a first-ball duck.

READ | Suryakumar Yadav's whirlwind ton keeps Mumbai in the hunt

On the back of it, the maverick batsman couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity than Thursday to turn the tide in his favour. With Mumbai having conceded a 73-run lead, the only way for its batsmen was to cut loose and try and force a result to keep its remote chances of qualifying for Ranji Trophy knockouts alive.

“In crunch situations, it’s very important for the senior players to step up, so it feels good. I feel it's a perfect situation for [an] important knock. [I am] really happy with it,” Surya, who scored 134 off 130 balls, told Sportstar after Mumbai finished with a hefty 212-run lead, scoring 285 runs at well over fives runs-an-over.

While Surya admitted he perhaps “missed one or two chances in New Zealand”, he stressed he was “batting as well over there as I was before going there”. He insisted he is high on confidence ever since starting the domestic season on a high note. It reflected in the way he backed himself on a pitch that was increasingly getting difficult to bat on.

“With 70 (73) runs behind and five sessions left in the game, we always wanted to put them on the backfoot. Otherwise it would have been a dead game if we batted normally,” Surya said.

“We discussed in the dressing room to try push to a lead of around 150 runs by the end of the day and then possibly accelerate in the morning and then put them under pressure. But with the way I was batting, the captain sent a message to keep going hard and I was given the freedom to take chances because there was a lot of batting to come. I kept playing my strokes, kept backing myself and just enjoyed my stay in the middle.”

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