Suryakumar Yadav's spectacular batting in the first T20I on Wednesday (September 28) earned plaudits from India opener KL Rahul. On a pitch where no other batter's strike rate could exceed 120, Yadav scored a brilliant 50 at a strike rate of above 150.
Team India got off to a solid start after opting to bowl first courtesy of a flawless opening spell from Deepak Chahar and Arshdeep Singh.
South Africa was floundering at 9/5 in the 3rd over but Keshav Maharaj’s valiant 41 off 35 balls and laborious knocks from Aiden Markram (25 off 24 balls) and Wayne Parnell (24 off 37 balls), took them to 106/8.
In reply, the hosts were reduced to 17/2 when Suryakumar walked in to bat and straight away went after the Proteas bowlers. The duo put on a 93-run stand for the 3rd wicket to take the team over the line with more than 3 overs to spare.
Rahul hailed his partner Yadav after the match.
“Definitely, right up there (as the toughest pitch). We have played in some difficult conditions like this but I haven’t got runs, so this was hard work. It was unbelievable for Surya to come out there and play those shots, we have seen how balls were flying, nipping around, two-paced and everything that can be hard for a batter that was the wicket today, and for Surya to come with that approach after the first ball that hit him, he just woke up and wanted to play his shots, be aggressive and take on the bowling,” Rahul said after the match.
Additionally, he mentioned how Suryakumar's innings allowed him to take his time to find his groove.
“That helped me take my time and play one end. (Expect that much help) Not that much. We did practice here yesterday and that was a humbling experience as well, we all came in prepared mentally as it was not going to be an easy wicket and I was ready to do the dirty work, ready to be challenged and get the job done for the team.” he explained.
The 30-year-old further praised the young left-arm seamer Arshdeep Singh who was adjudged as the Player of the Match for his match-winning figures of 3-32 in 4 overs.
“He’s (Arshdeep) growing with each game and with each outing he gets better, he is somebody who has a big heart and I have seen him in close quarters while playing in the IPL. This season what he did for his franchise was phenomenal and to be the number one death bowler in a team which has Rabada speaks highly of him. We always want a left-arm seamer and it is great to have someone like Arshdeep,” he added.
(STAR SPORTS INPUTS)