India captain Rohit Sharma lavished praise on Suryakumar Yadav after the righthander's unbeaten 61 off 25 balls took India a commendable total of 186/5 in 20 overs in their final Super 12 match against Zimbabwe.
Batting first at the MCG on Sunday, India knew they were through to the semifinals, but needed to finish top of Group 2. They were in a strong position at 87/1 in 11.4 overs with KL Rahul and Virat Kohli at the crease when Zimbabwe bowlers struck in quick succession.
Kohli (26 off 25), Rahul (51 off 35) and Rishabh Pant (3 off 5) were quickly back in the hut leaving Hardik Pandya and Suryakumar to accelerate at the end. While Pandya played the supporting role and was dismissed in the final over, Suryakumar clobbered 37 runs off the 11 balls he faced in the last three overs to India to a big total.
"What SKY is doing for the team is remarkable, just coming out there, playing that way, taking the pressure off the others. We know his ability, and it allows the guy at the other end to take his time. The dugout can really be at ease when he bats, and he's shown a lot of composure when he's batted," Rohit said in the post-match presentation.
"We expected this from him, and he's gone from strength to strength," he added.
India won the game by 71 runs and finished top of Group 2. They will next face England in the semifinal at Adelaide on Thursday (November 10).
"The key for us will be to adjust quickly to the conditions. We have played a game there (Adelaide), but we need to adjust quickly. England are a good team, and it will be a great contest. We should take pride in qualifying, firstly, and if we play that semi-final well, we have another big game as well," Rohit said.
"It's about understanding the lines and lengths - the square boundaries are shorter - and executing well," he added.
India's qualification to the semis was confirmed after South Africa lost to Netherlands in the first match of the day at Adelaide. The result also sent Pakistan through to the final four, where they will face New Zealand on Wednesday (November 9) at the SCG.
Rohit was pleased with Sunday's comprehensive win, as Ravichandran Ashwin (3-22), Mohammad Shami (2-14), Hardik Pandya (2-16), Arshdeep Singh (1-9) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (1-11) helped them bundle out Zimbabwe for 115.
"A very good all-round performance, something we were looking for. We had qualified, but we wanted to come out and play the way we wanted to play, which we achieved," Rohit said.
Zimbabwe captain Craig Ervine felt that his bowlers could've done better in conditions suitable for swing.
"I think maybe we could have changed up a couple of other plans. Suryakumar was brilliant at the end, negated Richey's (Ngarava) wide yorkers, which was our main plan. We could maybe have changed our pace a bit more there," Ervine said.
Zimbabwe, who pulled off a stunning one-run win over Pakistan, finished bottom of Group 2 with three points.