Suryakumar: ‘Rashid is the best in the world, you have to be a step ahead of him’

India

Suryakumar and Hardik added 60 runs off 37 balls for the fifth wicket after coming together when Shivam Dube was dismissed, leaving India 90 for 4 in the 11th over. Three of those wickets were picked up by Rashid Khan.

“Surya and Hardik’s partnership was very critical for us right at that point in time,” Rohit said on the host broadcast after the game. “We kept losing wickets there, so we needed somebody to bat little deep. Surya did that well along with Hardik.

“Over the last two years, we’ve come here [to the West Indies] and played some T20 cricket, so we understand the conditions a little bit, and we planned [the innings] around what the conditions offer and based our game plan accordingly. Getting 180 [181] was a great effort from our batters. We knew the class of the bowling we have to come and defend that, and they did that perfectly.”

Suryakumar, who was named Player of the Match for his 28-ball 53, said that the decision to take the bowling on – Rashid in particular – was deliberate, keeping in mind the slowness of the surface.

“When Hardik came into bat, I told him we need to bat with the same intent, let’s not leave it too much till the end,” he said. “It would’ve been difficult with the ball reversing. I just told him let’s keep pressing the pedal and see where we are at the end of 16 overs. Glad we got to 180.”

Suryakumar hit Rashid for 16 runs off six deliveries, with two fours and a ferocious slog sweep for six.

“I started chewing my gum even harder when he [Kohli] got out. But I knew I’ve played this phase before, and with the left-handers coming in, it became a little easier”

Suryakumar Yadav

“When I play, I’m very clear in my mind what I want to do,” Suryakumar said. “When he [Rashid] bowls, it’s very difficult to pick him. I know what shots to play when I am inside. He’s the best bowler in the world, you can’t let him dominate. You have to be a step ahead.”

Suryakumar’s contribution – it was his second successive half-century of the T20 World Cup – came at a strike rate of almost 190. He came in to bat at the end of the seventh over and soon saw Virat Kohli hole out to long-off to leave India 62 for 3 in the ninth.

“I’ve practiced that [batting in the middle overs] and have played a lot there,” Suryakumar said. “I enjoy batting in that phase, between overs seven to 15, that’s where teams try and control the game.

“I started chewing my gum even harder when he [Kohli] got out. But I knew I’ve played this phase before, and with the left-handers coming in, it became a little easier. But I just backed my game, backed my instincts, and most importantly my intent [which] should have been good at that time.”

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