Suryakumar Yadav (SKY) has been a revelation for India since making his debut, sealing his position in the T20I squad and currently atop the MRF Tyres ICC Men’s T20I Batting Rankings. The late-blooming hitter has all the shots in the book, plus a few more, but it’s not just his stroke play that makes him such an incredible talent; it’s also the extraordinary consistency of his run-scoring.
The India international has developed a habit of passing 50 and scoring at a world-class rate. Yadav is an amazing and delightful exception to the norm in a game where high averages and swift scoring rates seldom combine. The 32-year-old, known to many as SKY, is not a boom-or-bust player, but there are some notable hits amid his regularly good scores.
We take a look at his greatest five T20 International innings for India.
SKY with Blistering 117 from 55 balls vs England – July 2022, Nottingham
Comfortably Yadav’s greatest T20I individual score came at Trent Bridge in an ultimately futile attempt to chase down England’s monstrous first-innings tally of 215/7. Sky’s 117 included 20 boundaries, including six maximums, as he blasted through a powerful England assault, hitting seam and spin with equal aplomb. What made his feat even more remarkable was that no other India batsman appeared capable of striking the ball off the square, with just three other players reaching double digits in the total of 198/9 and Shreyas Iyer the next highest-scorer with 28 from 23 balls.
SKY with 68 from 40 balls vs South Africa – October 2022, Perth
Gautam Gambhir, a former India hitter, rated Yadav’s 68 as the finest T20 innings he had ever seen after India lost to South Africa in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022 Super 12 stage. The outcome might have been even worse if it hadn’t been for the number four’s brilliant management of an innings that threatened to disintegrate, with just two other players reaching double digits and Rohit Sharma the next-highest scorer with 15.
To contribute more than half of his team’s runs in a first-innings total of 133/9 was great enough, but SKY did so with a strike rate of 170, despite wickets falling all around him. It was again another outstanding effort by
Brilliant Sky with 51* from 25 balls vs Netherlands – October 2022, Sydney
That’s how you make your debut on the largest stage. Yadav lighted the blue touch paper after going to the crease with India well-placed but scoring more slowly than they would have wanted against the Netherlands in the second group game of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022.
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SKY raced to a quick and undefeated half-century, ending with a strike rate of 204 despite never having to enter the stands more than once. He came in with the score at 84/2 at the conclusion of the 12th over, but his pyrotechnics pushed his team to a total of 179/2 – a goal that proved beyond the opponents’ reach.
Another 57 from 31 balls vs England by SKY – March 2021, Ahmedabad
England was SKY’s first opponent in blue for the Indian men’s national team, and he made an early impression on his country. Coming in at number three midway through the Powerplay, Yadav went on the offensive immediately away, adhering to the style and attitude that had won him the call-up in the first place.
He was headed back to the pavilion after just 31 balls, but not before recording his first half-century of many, smashing three sixes and six fours. The white ball flew all over the place against an England attack including all of their speed assets, including a fully fit Jofra Archer and an express-paced Mark Wood.
Stunning SKY 76 from 44 balls vs West Indies – August 2022, Basseterre
Yadav, who was promoted to opener for the day, cranked on the flair to put India on the front foot right from the start of a 165-run chase against the West Indies. Even the sight of skipper Rohit Sharma leaving the field early with a back ailment couldn’t discourage him, as he unleashed a dazzling assortment of strokes that sent the ball soaring to all areas on a rough track in Basseterre.
When Yadav was sent off while attempting a 13th boundary of the game, he had virtually won the game, giving his teammates the simple task of knocking out the remaining with time to spare.