"Deep down inside he must be very very disappointed to not have donned the blue for India."
Mumbai Indians captain Kieron Pollard did not mince his words when reflecting on Suryakumar Yadav's high-quality match-winning knock against Virat Kohli's Royal Challengers Bangalore in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday (October 28). The Mumbai batsman has been a consistent performer for his franchise and state side for quite some time now, but despite that, he was ignored from India's white-ball squads for the upcoming tour of Australia.
So, what do you do after not being given an opportunity you truly deserve? You keep your head down and do what you know best. With Suryakumar, it's all about scoring runs and contributing to the team's success and that's exactly what he did against Bangalore in Match No. 48 of the Indian Premier League 2020. The right-hander smoked a 43-ball 79*, studded with 10 fours and three sixes, and propelled Mumbai to a comfortable five-wicket win. Courtesy of their superior NRR, Mumbai (+1.186) are all but through to the playoffs.
Asked to bat, Devdutt Padikkal (45-ball 74) played a stunning knock, but Jasprit Bumrah (3/14) turned the game around in the last five overs and restricted Bangalore to 164/6 in 20 overs. In response, Suryakumar was astonishing, while some of the other batsmen also chipped in as Mumbai chased down the total in 19.1 overs. MI are almost through to the playoffs but they would want to win at least one more match for a coveted top-two finish. Meanwhile, Bangalore will have to win one more encounter and hope that either Kings XI Punjab or Kolkata Knight Riders lose at least one match. If not, RCB (NRR +0.048) will have to win both of their remaining games.
PADIKKAL SHINES, BUT BANGALORE COLLAPSE
Earlier, Padikkal and Josh Philippe, playing only his third game of the season, got Bangalore off to a pretty decent start. Padikkal in particular looked in sublime touch from the word go and announced his arrival by slamming Trent Boult for a boundary through extra-covers. There were a couple of eye-pleasing shots from the left-hander, while Philippe took some time before taking off.
The opener from Australia was on 9 off 10 before finally breaking the shackles in the fourth over. Philippe pulled James Pattinson for a boundary before lofting Boult down the ground for a maximum. Anything short or full, Padikkal and Philippe pounced on it. The onus was on the duo to keep the runs flowing considering how badly RCB have struggled in the middle overs.
Pollard wasted no time in introducing Rahul Chahar into the attack after the powerplay and the legspinner did the job in the very first over by getting Philippe stumped for a 24-ball 33. Padikkal however didn't allow Chahar to dictate terms and forced him out of the attack. The 20-year-old completed his fifty off 30 deliveries and became the third uncapped Indian player after Shikhar Dhawan (2008) and Shreyas Iyer (2015) to register four 50-plus scores in a debut season.
Meanwhile, Virat Kohli (14-ball 9) once again struggled to score freely, and just when he decided to cut loose, Bumrah sent him back in the hut with a well-directed bouncer. Kohli, who was Bumrah's first IPL victim, also became his 100th. Bangalore managed 75 in the middle overs - their best this season - and that was largely possible because of Padikkal. AB de Villiers (12-ball 15) did smoke a couple of lusty blows but couldn't carry on, falling to Pollard in the 16th over. This was the third time in six innings Pollard had dismissed de Villiers.
Before the dust had settled, Bumrah got rid of Shivam Dube (2) and Padikkal in the same over and denied Bangalore a late flourish. Washington Sundar (10*) and Gurkeerat Singh (14*) however managed a couple of boundaries against Boult to push Bangalore past the 160-run mark.
KEEP CALM AND TRUST SURYAKUMAR
The RCB bowlers managed to keep Quinton de Kock (19-ball 18) quiet for the first few overs but Ishan Kishan kept finding boundaries at regular intervals. The left-hander from Jharkhand greeted Dale Steyn with a six and then punched Washington for a boundary through backward point. De Kock did smash a six but the wicketkeeper-batsman never looked comfortable and eventually fell to Mohammed Siraj in the final over of the Powerplay.
Mumbai were scoring at less than seven runs per over, with Washington and Yuzvendra Chahal giving nothing away. The pressure was slowly starting to build on Kishan (19-ball 25) and Suryakumar and it was the former who tried to go after Chahal but ended up miscuing one straight into the hands of the long-off fielder. Suryakumar did slam Chahal for a six and a four to bring some momentum into the innings, but Saurabh Tiwary (5) departed without contributing much. The required run-rate was hovering around 10 and it was Suryakumar who took it upon himself to take the attack to Chahal and Steyn.
The 30-year-old crafted Steyn for three boundaries in an over, and scored 25 of the 37 runs Chahal conceded in his four overs. Krunal Pandya (10) couldn't contribute much but in came his brother Hardik who announced his arrival with a six and got the equation down to 48 off 30. Siraj once again struggled at the death and couldn't get his line and length right. The right-arm pacer was tonked for three boundaries in an over, all by Suryakumar. The right-hander then went after Steyn in the 18th over, scooping him over fine leg for his third six.
With 16 needed off 12, Hardik (15-ball 17) hammered Morris for a six over long-on but the paceman had his revenge the very next delivery. Mumbai still needed 7 off 7 but Pollard smashed a boundary off the last ball of the penultimate over and killed the game. It was only fitting that Suryakumar scored the winning runs and got Mumbai over the line with five deliveries to spare.