SKY’s the limit - Suryakumar Yadav's best knocks

Suryakumar Yadav’s journey to where he stands today has been a long, strenuous and rocky one. Often doubted, shunned or simply overlooked at a bigger stage, Surya never lost hope. By his own admission, when results are not in his favour, he has worked harder than before to make things count.

Over the years, he has become Mr. Consistent for the Mumbai Indians team and has time and again delivered memorable performances that have taken the lot across the line single-handedly. His knocks are not just entertaining, but are timely and crucial, aiding the team in the best possible way.

His much awaited debut in the Indian colours also have been performances to remember. If anything, Surya has shown only promise to repay the faith that the selectors had finally shown in him.

On his 31st birthday, here is a look at five special innings he has played, two special fifties for India, and three for Mumbai Indians that have displayed growth like none other.

57 (31) vs England - International debut

Surya knew the best way to announce his entry into international cricket. While he didn’t get to bat in his debut match, in his first T20I innings he sailed to a commanding half century, creating a statement to remember.

Sending Jofra Archer away over the ropes at fine leg for a maximum in the very first ball showed what Surya was waiting to do all these years. After that, there was no stopping him. The innings included a particularly punishing 14-run over, out of which Surya was the cause of 12 of it.

His 57 came at a strike rate of 183.87, studded with six fours and three sixes. The first game he got to bat in, Surya ended up taking home the ‘Player of the Match’ honours too, after earning India a series-equalising win, that allowed the team to go ahead and win the series later.

53 (44) vs Sri Lanka

When India toured Sri Lanka in July this year with a team that was not the selectors’ first choice, a bunch of happy surprises came up at the end of the trip, with people showing immense potential throughout. Surya’s game was one of those.

In the second ODI, Surya’s 53 (44) was an innings that was worth its score in gold. He steadied the pace when the top three fell for 13, 29 and 1, and along with Deepak Chahar (69) at the other end, Surya took India to a defendable total of 277/7 at Columbo’s R. Premadasa Stadium.

72 (47) vs RR - 2018

One could call this performance of Surya a coming-of-age knock. This was the game he showed potential as an opener in a tournament where he scored over 500 runs, proving his mettle to everyone who questioned him.

He scored a 72 (47) at an excellent strike rate of 153.19. His knock had six fours and three sixes and steered Mumbai Indians to 167/7 against Rajasthan Royals, albeit in a losing cause. However, this very total was possible because of Surya’s stay at the crease, who formed a 129-run partnership with Ishan Kishan, the only sustainable one of the innings.

This knock, although it came in a losing cause, showed many why Surya’s game commanded respect from one and all.

71* (54) vs CSK - 2019

This stellar performance from Surya came yet again in a Qualifier 1 game, this time in 2019. Amidst players who were finding it tough to stay at the crease and play their game, Surya, that day, stood tall and took the responsibility of seeing the team through to yet another IPL final.

Surya’s 71* (54) had ten boundaries, through which he, almost single handedly, chased down a target of 131 set by the Chennai Super Kings at their own hunting ground, in Chepauk.

79* (43) vs RCB - 2020

This knock was iconic in every sense of the word. Surya, having just been dropped from the recent announcement of the national team, had a point to prove in this game. Confidence and magnificent strokeplay - that is how one can characterise this innings of Surya’s.

He came in at the loss of MI’s first wicket and played with the ease only a seasoned player could have. He casually sent away RCB bowlers for three sixes and 10 fours, and marched the team towards the victory line.

His 183.72 strike rate knock helped MI chase down 165 runs with five balls remaining, and with a strike rate so high that the team became the first to enter the qualifiers. Surya’s celebrations after the match also was a sight to behold!

Drama, thrill and skill - when Surya takes to the field, he does not disappoint at all. He comes, he confidently fires, he assures the team he will get the job done, and pushes forward to the finishing line with all his might.

Surya’s hardwork and patience has paid off with his name being included in the ICC T20 World Cup that is to happen in Abu Dhabi after the conclusion of the IPL. We can’t wait to see Surya’s calibre in full display at the highest stage.

To this talented lad, for whom SKY's the limit, who shines as bright as the sun wherever he goes, a very happy birthday!