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'Cause you're a SKY, 'cause you're a SKY full of stars

Last updated on 12 May 2023 | 07:56 PM
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'Cause you're a SKY, 'cause you're a SKY full of stars

If you are a bowler at Wankhede, don't bowl to Suryakumar Yadav....

Sachin Tendulkar has seen over 2000 games across his life, as a player and then as a consultant, but never has the Little Master been captured in such a light. Just beside him, there is a 170-IPL game-old Piyush Chawla who was at the receiving end of some wonderful reaction from Sachin. 

Both of them were taken aback. The commentators had gone crazy as well. And the digital scoreboard at the Wankhede Stadium too was having a jolly time, “Best in the business.” You know exactly the moment, you know how this is going to end up. 

It was pitched right in the arc, and any other batter would have moved their way around and swung towards the leg. But Suryakumar Yadav is just built differently. He literally took everyone at the Wankhede to another spectrum.

He took the audience to another realm that you cannot legally obtain or enter. It was in the slot but Surya turned the bat around and turned the ball over the third-man region for a six. Not an edge, he flicked his wrist so hard at the last moment that the ball took off from the middle of the bat.

That’s Suryakumar Yadav. 

And that’s just one of the shots that he played on the night. Wankhede couldn’t have asked more, for they witnessed a Doctor Strange. In the dark world, his wrist might be in the biggest demand after the night. Or in plain computer terms, he might be a bot. 


If you ever happen to be at an Indian Premier League (IPL) game, you would know how the crowd go. All they want are boundaries galore. When the DJ goes, "we want", the crowd naturally responds "sixes". But there aren’t too many players in the IPL who can answer those calls on demand. 

On-demand, no other player might be as clutch as Suryakumar Yadav. There was even a moment during the middle of Mumbai’s innings when the broadcasters casually put the legendary Proteas AB de Villiers with Suryakumar.

Several players have failed to even come close to the legacy that the South African set but the fans believed that Suryakumar wasn’t close, he was better. The 32-year-old was living rent-free in the minds of the cricketing fans. And him answering the crowd’s demands ball-after-ball is a sight to behold.

Image Credits : Jio Cinema

At 61/1, Mumbai wasn’t in a whole lot of trouble but an in-form Rashid Khan was bowling like a dream. Whenever he has been in that zone, the opponents have borne the brunt. And a battle can’t get more intense than this, this perhaps was a battle for a legacy. 

An all-time T20 bowler vs An all-time T20 batter. 

The first ball, Suryakumar’s approach was rather clear, he moved and went for the sweep. It struck his pads, and the appeal from Rashid was turned down immediately. Any batter would have toned down the aggression and perhaps would have chosen a different path. 

But Suryakumar showed exactly why he is rated so highly. It was another delivery outside the off-stump and the 32-year-old attempted the same shot, this time for a four. Although it was a fumble, it showed Suryakumar wasn’t going to settle for being the second-best. 

Over after over, the right-hander mixed a range of shots, including employing the sweep against Rashid with great success. After the first five matches, all he had against his name was 66 runs, after three ducks. At that point, Suryakumar was the 51st-best batter in the 2023 IPL. 


With an average of 13.2 and a strike-rate of 140.4, all focus was on him. Everything then changed, and so did Mumbai’s fortunes. 


Since April 19, Suryakumar is the second-best batter in this year’s IPL, with 413 runs in the next seven matches. Provided that a lot of those innings came in extremely batting-friendly conditions at the Wankhede, the right-hander differentiated himself from the rest of the pack. 

Not only did Suryakumar score 413 runs, his strike rate of 202.4 was only the fourth-best for any batter. The others above him: Rashid Khan, Rahul Tewatia and Tim David. 

None of them have batted even 50 deliveries during that time frame. 

It is often easier for the finishers to have a strike-rate like that but for a batter who walks in at a time of distress to still maintain a strike-rate of well above 200 facing as many deliveries, Suryakumar wasn’t a myth anymore.

The 32-year-old has all the shots possible in modern-day cricket and in the age where everything is well captured, and every match-up is well noted, the right-hander stands as an anomaly. You bowl your best ball and then hope that god blesses you with a wicket. There’s almost no other way you could get him out. 

We can talk day and night about the shots, about how the ball flew like a tracer bullet but the reality remains, none possess confidence such as him. It is a confidence that doesn’t come with ease. 

"We wanted to keep right-left combination but SKY came in and said no, he wanted to go in. That is the kind of confidence he has and that rubs off on others," Rohit said in the post-match presentation. 

Chawla echoed the thoughts, admitting that whenever he is getting Suryakumar out in the nets, it is when he knows he is bowling well. It is these small things that separate him from the rest. It didn’t matter if the ball was turning away from him or if the pacer was hurling it away from his reach or if the bounce was too much on the ball, all that mattered to Suryakumar was to find a solution. 

A solution where the ball lands outside the rope. 

The ease with which he did find them made one and all dumbfound. How he accelerated in this innings was perhaps a thing of beauty. After ten balls, he was on 12. After 20, 33 and then after, there was carnage. You could look at the long list of IPL centurions but before today, Suryakumar isn’t a name that you would have found. 

Chuck that. 

Perhaps in the history of the IPL, there has never been a batter who has scored three T20 International centuries before scoring their maiden IPL ton. Hell, there wouldn’t be too many batters in world cricket to score three T20I tons before scoring a ton in their domestic league. Suryakumar first cracked the international code, then he cracked the IPL code so much that people are wondering if we are in a different matrix altogether. 

There’s going to be enough said about his batting, about the wide range of strokes that were on display but there’s one thing that will be said less, how his innings progressed from nowhere substantial to monumental. 

After facing 30 deliveries, Suryakumar transformed himself into Doctor Strange and was merely just pushing his hand and pulling it like he was casting a spell. He moved a couple of fingers, the ball would race away to the third-man region for a four. He moved more than a couple, it would reach the third-man region, and the others, well they land straight into the minds of the bowlers. 

While he lives in the cricketing fans’ minds rent-free, the bowlers have to pay a heavy price. To maintain a strike-rate of nearly 300, and score 57 off 19, those days are quite rare for the batters. On a night where Rashid just conceded 30, Suryakumar bagged 17 of those runs. 

That’s Suryakumar, and this is the world that we are all living in. 

“There is lots and lots of practice before the game, so when I come into the game I am very clear and just go express myself,” is what Suryakumar said about his innings in the post-match presentation. 

Gujarat Titans and the crowd had one thing in similar: both of them paid the ultimate price. 

But one to be left in disarray and the other in euphoria.

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