Mumbai Indians (MI) superstar Suryakumar Yadav's maiden Indian Premier League (IPL) century against reigning champions Gujarat Titans (GT) went on to trigger an epic meme fest on Twitter on Friday.
This is the condition of bowler when Surya Kumar Yadav bats 😍❤️#SuryakumarYadav pic.twitter.com/iNq7tN9zIv
— Deepak Jain 🇮🇳 (@Dipsdj007) May 12, 2023
Umpire watching the ball when Suryakumar Yadav is batting pic.twitter.com/bEm3HHZxJr
— Sagar (@sagarcasm) May 12, 2023
Non striker and umpires when SKY comes to the crease#MIvsGT #SuryakumarYadav pic.twitter.com/MLsiNJARrP
— aqqu who (@aq30__) May 12, 2023
How does #SuryakumarYadav hit a good length ball to third man with a straight bat??????#MIvsGT pic.twitter.com/ZpKyZoHVk4
— Sagar (@sagarcasm) May 12, 2023
Suryakumar Yadav Batting Highlights Against GT. @surya_14kumar @mipaltan #MIvsGT pic.twitter.com/UV7cH2Aac7
— MI Fans Army™ (@MIFansArmy) May 12, 2023
In what is said to be his favorite format, Surya produced a sensational knock, storming to 103 off 49 balls, with his last 50 runs coming in the final three overs of Mumbai's innings.
With his century at the Wankhede Stadium during the weekend, SKY became the first batter to have a three-figure score against the Gujarat Titans.
It was Suryakumar Yadav's fourth hundred in T20s, including three centuries for Team India in T20Is. Remarkably all these four tons have been scored in less than 50 balls, making Suryakumar Yadav the second batter to hit four or more T20 centuries in fewer than 50 deliveries. In addition to SKY, Universe Boss Chris Gayle has accomplished the feat in T20 cricket.
Suryakumar Yadav's unbeaten 103 against the Hardik Pandya-led side is his highest score in the IPL. It was also the first IPL hundred for Mumbai Indians since 2014 when West Indian Lendl Simmons scored one against Punjab Kings (then known as Kings XI Punjab).
“Suryakumar was 53 off 34 at the start of the 18th over. He hit Mohit Sharma for three fours and a six to move to 73 off 40. Then he met Shami in the 19th over and played a front-foot drive for six over third man, just by opening the face of the bat. Finally, on 97, with only one ball left in the innings, he did what he has done to fast bowlers all over the world, sweeping Alzarri Joseph from way outside off into the crowd past the square leg boundary,” a prominent cricket publication wrote describing Suryakumar Yadav's innings.
“You know how Kane Williamson dabs to third man to get singles? Well, Suryakumar accessed the same area, except he cleared the boundary. He saw a ball on off stump. He knew he could get under it. At the point where he made contact, he opened the face, just as Williamson does, and then the strength in his forearms and his wrists did the rest. This is Suryakumar. He sees T20 cricket the way nobody else sees it,” the media outlet summed up.
Suryakumar Yadav's splendid knock eventually guided the Mumbai Indians to a comfortable 27-run victory as his blitzkrieg helped the five-time champions to a mammoth 218/7 in their allocated 20 overs. In reply, GT could only manage 191/8, with Rashid Khan being their lone warrior. The Afghan player smacked 79 off 32 balls with ten sixes, but nobody else got going.
Meanwhile, Suryakumar Yadav dubbed his historic hundred against Gujarat Titans his best knock in the T20 format.
“There was a lot of dew on the ground, it was there from the seventh-eighth over, and I knew what my shots were on the ground,” Suryakumar Yadav said after Mumbai Indians' triumph. “I knew that one side of the boundary is 75-80 metres. So I was prepared to hit two shots in that over – scooping one over third man and flicking one over square leg. I was not thinking about hitting straight. I have played that shot before, and I just backed myself and was really happy with how it went over third man.”
“There is lots and lots of practice before the game – what I practice and how I practice. That is most important. When I come into the game, I am very clear and I just go out and express myself. That's it.”
“Can say that [this was one of my best T20 knocks],” Suryakumar Yadav added. “Whenever I get runs I think the team should win, and most importantly, we batted first today. We had a chat in the afternoon that we would keep the same tempo when you are chasing 200-220 and we will keep up the tempo till the last over. Very happy with the way things went.”
Mumbai Indians' skipper Rohit Sharma was effusive in his praise of Suryakumar Yadav, saying his confidence rubs on the team.
“The guy has got confidence,” Rohit Sharma said in the post-match presentation ceremony. “At the start of the tournament, we were deciding whether to keep the right-left combination, but Surya came in and said no, he wanted to go in. That is the kind of confidence he has, it doesn't matter if a legspinner is bowling or offspinner or left-arm spinner, he just wants to go in. That shows he has got so much confidence in the last one-and-a-half years that he's been playing for us and also for India. He's done really well. That's the confidence he brings in and it rubs off on others who are batting with him in the middle.”
“There's no looking back for him. The good thing about him is, in every game, he wants to start fresh and does not look back at the previous game – which is always nice for a cricketer to think like that – what has happened in the past and the kind of run he had in the past. Sometimes you can sit back, and think about it and be proud of it, but that is not the case with him,” the Team India and Mumbai Indians captain elaborated.
Former Australian all-rounder Tom Moody went a step further, calling SKY a “genius” who could toy with bowlers of opposition teams.
“Genius. That's the only way that you can describe his batting in this format. He is a pure genius. The way he manipulates the fields, the way conducts where he wants the bowlers to bowl, the pressure he puts on the bowlers and the opposition captain,” Tom Moody told ESPNCricinfo.
“He has got them in the palm of his hand. If you look at that last shot, you can read the play. You sort of sense that he was going to do that and the bowler also might be thinking that he might sweep this. But he had just hit the bowler for a six straight over mid-off. He has got so many answers for so many deliveries. He is almost impossible to bowl to,” Moody argued.
On the other hand, Hardik Pandya, Gujarat Titans skipper, who knows a thing or two about SKY, having played a lot with him for Mumbai Indians and the national team, too heaped praise on the 32-year-old batter.
“People have spoken enough about him,” Hardik Pandya opined. “He is one of the best batters in T20 cricket. When he gets going, it's very difficult to set a field as a captain and for a bowler as well. You have to execute your plans and outdo him. Otherwise, you saw what can happen if you don't execute your plans or if you freeze in a situation when the pressure is on you. He kept putting pressure on our bowlers and got the better of them.”