Melbourne: India’s World T20 loss to Zimbabwe on Sunday may have lacked drama but Suryakumar Yadav ensured most of the 82,000 fans at the Melbourne Cricket Ground went home happy with a show with the bat.
The Mumbai wizard put on another clinic in range-hitting as he scored an unbeaten 61 off 25 balls in a thrashing 71 that sent India into the semi-finals against England.
With 225 runs, Yadav is now second only to teammate Virat Kohli (246) in the tournament runs list for players who have participated in the Super 12 phase only.
His strike rate of 193.96, however, puts everyone in the shade and will give England’s bowlers plenty of food for thought ahead of Thursday’s semi-final in Adelaide.
It’s no mean feat to hit a six at the massive Melbourne Cricket Ground but Yadav sent four of them over the ropes, including an outrageous ramp on a wide full toss of the final ball from Richard Ngarva.
It sent India’s huge legion of fans jumping through the roof and propelled coach Rahul Dravid to greatness.
“It’s not easy to be consistent at the strike rate he scores,” Dravid told reporters.
“He is very clear about his strategy.
‘Remarkable’ Yadav helps India set up England T20 World Cup semi-final
“I think he’s really getting rewarded for a lot of hard work on and off the field and long may that continue.
“He is absolutely phenomenal for us and he is a joy to watch.
“He puts on a show, no doubt.”
With the match a dead rubber after South Africa were eliminated by a shock defeat to the Netherlands, India picked back-up wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant for his first match and opted to bat first against Zimbabwe.
Opener KL Rahul Yadav scored 51 runs with a half-century, before India’s batsmen were bundled out for 115 in the 18th over as Zimbabwe posted 186 for five.
Dravid said that depending on the Adelaide pitch, India may make changes for the England showdown but the team mentality will remain consistent.
“At this level, most of these guys are incredibly motivated,” he said.
“There’s no need to ask you to do anything extra.”