Suryakumar Yadav has been a revelation since making his debut for India, cementing his place in the T20I side and now reaching the top of the MRF Tyres ICC Men’s T20I Batting Rankings.
The late-blooming batter has all the shots in the book, and some extra ones to boot; but it is not just his stroke-play that makes him such an astonishing player, but the remarkable consistency of his run-scoring.
The India international has made a habit of passing 50 as well as scoring at a world-class strike rate. And in a format where high averages and rapid scoring rates rarely coexist, Yadav is an extraordinary and joyful exception to the rule.
The 32-year-old, known to many as SKY, is not a boom or bust player, but even among his consistently high scores there are still some standout knocks.
We take a look at his best five innings to-date for India in T20 Internationals.
1. 117 from 55 balls vs England – July 2022, Nottingham
Comfortably Yadav’s highest individual score in T20Is came at Trent Bridge in an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to chase down England’s monster first-innings score of 215/7.
Sky’s brilliant 117 featured 20 boundaries, including six maximums, as he ripped apart a strong England attack, dispatching seam and spin with equal abandon.
What made his effort even more astounding was that barely a single other India batter seemed capable of hitting the ball off the square, with only three other players reaching double figures in the score of 198/9 and Shreyas Iyer the next top-scorer with 28 from 23.
2. 68 from 40 balls vs South Africa – October 2022, Perth
Former India batter Gautam Gambhir described Yadav’s 68 as the best T20 innings he had ever seen after a match that saw India slide to defeat against South Africa in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022 Super 12 stage.
The result could have been far, far worse were it not for the brilliance of the number four, who marshalled an innings that threatened to completely unravel, with only two other players reaching double figures and Rohit Sharma the next highest scorer with 15.
To contribute more than half his team’s runs in a first-innings total of 133/9 was impressive in itself, but SKY managed to do so at a strike rate of 170, despite wickets tumbling around him. It was another stunning performance from a player who deserves the ‘mentality-monster’ moniker.
3. 51* from 25 balls vs Netherlands – October 2022, Sydney
That’s how to announce yourself on the biggest stage.
After coming to the crease with India well-placed but scoring more slowly than they would have liked against Netherlands in the second group game of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022, Yadav lit the blue touch paper.
Without even needing to find the stands more than once, SKY raced to a rapid and unbeaten half-century, finishing with a strike rate of 204.
He had come in at the end of the 12th over with the score at 84/2, but his fireworks lifted his team to a total of 179/2 – a target that proved out of the opponents’ reach.
4. 57 from 31 balls vs England – March 2021, Ahmedabad
England were the opponents for SKY’s very first innings in the blue of the India men’s national team, and he made an immediate impact for his country.
Coming in midway through the Powerplay at number three, Yadav went on the attack right from the off, sticking to the style and approach that had earned him his call-up in the first place.
Just 31 balls later and he was heading back to the pavilion, but only after registering his first half-century of many, banging three sixes and six fours.
It was a knock that saw the white ball fly to all parts against an England attack featuring all of their pace assets – including a fully fit Jofra Archer and a express-paced Mark Wood.
5. 76 from 44 balls vs West Indies – August 2022, Basseterre
Moved up to opener for the day, Yadav turned on the style to put India on the front foot right from the start of a chase of 165 to win against West Indies.
Even the sight of captain Rohit Sharma leaving the field with a back injury early on couldn’t deter him, with a stunning array of shots sending the ball flying to all parts on a bouncy track in Basseterre.
Entertaining and impactful, when Yadav was dismissed going for a 13th boundary the game he had effectively won the game, leaving an easy task for his team-mates to knock off the rest with time to spare.
THIS IS THE BIG TIME!
Feel the buzz in the stands and see the best teams in the world play on the biggest stage of all.