India captain Hardik Pandya on Saturday said with each innings the rampaging Suryakumar Yadav has been telling his teammates that “batting is so easy”. The 32-year-old Surya produced yet another scintillating knock — an unbeaten 112 off 51 balls — as India crushed Sri Lanka by 91 runs in the series-deciding third T20 International here for a 2-1 series win. “I think he has been surprising everyone every innings that he is batting. He is just telling us that batting is so easy. If I were bowling to him, I’d be disheartened on seeing his batting, with the shot he plays. He has played blinders after blinders,” Pandya said at the presentation ceremony.
Surya took over after Rahul Tripathi blazed away to a 16-ball 35, and Pandya was also full of praise for the latter. “Special mention to Rahul Tripathi — the ball was doing something but he showed great intent. Then SKY did his thing.”
When asked if he has ever given advice to Surya, Hardik said, “You don’t need to tell him anything, he knows what to do. If there is any situation where he is unsure, we have our chats but more often than not, he knows what to do.”
Thanks to Surya’s blazing knock, India posted an imposing 228 for five. The hosts then bowled out Sri Lank for 137. While left-arm spinning all-rounder Axar Patel went wicket-less on Saturday, he played his part with the bat, scoring 21 off just nine balls. “I’m really proud of him (Axar), the way he is batting down the order and hitting. This will give a lot of confidence to him and the team as well,” Hardik said.
The skipper added, “My motto in life as captain has been that I’ll back my players. These are the best T20 cricketers in India and that’s why they are here. There is no space for doubting in this format and we’re backing the players properly. The way we played in the series is pleasing, we didn’t even play 50 percent of our game in the second game but we still fought well.”
Things appeared gloomy again when Suryakumar was out for 51 towards the end of the 16th over. Just when the balance shifted heavily towards easy Sri Lanka once again, young Shivam Mavi hit a couple of sixes and a four off the last three balls of the 18th over to make India believe again.
Sri Lanka, however, held their nerves in the final two overs to close out the match but just before the match was officially over – India needed 1 run off 17 balls, practically impossible without a miracle or two – captain Hardik Pandya was seen shaking hands with the Indian players and support staff. Normally players shake hands with teammates and the opponents after the match is over.
India’s middle-order batterSuryakumar Yadav continued his dream run of form in T20 internationals, making him a force to reckon with in the year 2023. After scoring a half-century in the second T20I of the three-match rubber against Sri Lanka during India’s 16-run defeat in Pune, the series was at the line in Rajkot, and Suryakumar rose to the occasion.
The home team won the toss in the series decider and opted to bat first. After losing Ishan Kishan early, first Rahul Tripathi(35 off 16 balls), Shubman Gill (46 off 36) and then Suryakumar made a mockery of the Sri Lankan bowling attack.
Suryakumar went on to score his third century in the shortest format of the game. He smashed nine sixes and seven fours in his unbeaten 112-run knock, guiding India to a mammoth total of 228/5 in their allotted overs.