Netizens hailed explosive Mumbai Indians' batter Suryakumar Yadav (SKY) following his maiden Indian Premier League (IPL) century against defending champions Gujarat Titans on Friday.

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.

“He needed 32 balls to get to his fifty. That's slow by his standards, and he was building his innings with orthodox shots. The only luxury he afforded himself were those straight sixes, where his weight is usually on the back foot, right up to the point where he meets the ball, and then he hops, lifting both himself and the ball up off the ground. That's how he creates leverage. It's his own unique thing,” a prominent cricket website wrote in its description of Surya's knock.

“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,” the publication noted.

“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.

In the end, Suryakumar Yadav remained unbeaten on 103, which happens to be 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).

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.

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Meanwhile, Suryakumar Yadav dubbed his historic hundred against Gujarat Titans his best knock in the T20 format.

“Can say that [my best T20 innings]. Most importantly we batted first, at the meeting we decided we'll keep the same tempo as we do when we're chasing 200 plus. There was a lot of dew even after just 7-8 overs, one side was 75-80 metres, so I was prepared for scooping over third man or flicking over square leg. I wasn't thinking of going straight. There's a lot of practice that goes behind [my 360-degree game], so when I come out to the middle, I am very clear in my mind,” Suryakumar Yadav said during the post-match presentation ceremony.

Mumbai Indians' skipper Rohit Sharma was effusive in his praise of Suryakumar Yadav, saying his confidence rubs on the team.

“Interesting game, we needed those two points. Batting first, to post score and defend like that, not what happened towards the end, was pleasing. Conditions got tough for the bowlers with a lot of dew coming in, so it was a great effort from them,” Rohit Sharma told Star Sports, the host broadcasters of the prestigious competition.

“Honestly, it's just the confidence Surya has got. At the start of the tournament, we were debating if we need a left-right combination, Surya said no, ‘I want to go in'. That's the kind of confidence he brings and it rubs off on the guys who are batting with him. There's no looking back. Good thing is every game he's wanting to start fresh. Which is nice for a cricketer to think like that. Sometimes you can sit back and be very proud about it, but that's not the case with him,” Rohit Sharma added.

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 elaborated.

However, this isn't the first time an ex-cricketer has praised Suryakumar Yadav for his blistering knock in IPL 2023. Previously, Sunil Gavaskar hailed his performance against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), stating that he looked like playing “gully cricket” against Faf du Plessis' side.

Suryakumar Yadav smashed a whirlwind 83 off 35 deliveries, his fourth half-century in his last six IPL knocks.

“SKY was toying with the bowlers. He gives you a feeling of gully cricket when he's batting like that. He's just gotten better with practice and hard work. His bottom hand is so powerful that he uses it to perfection. Against RCB, he started with hitting towards long-on and long-off and later agricultural shots all around the park,” Sunil Gavaskar said on Star Sports.