Rohit Sharma was gone in the first over. Quinton De Kock departed in the third. It was all on Suryakumar Yadav, and after he got a reprieve thanks to Murali Vijay failing to hold on to a catch, he made the most of it and guided Mumbai Indians to a six-wicket victory against Chennai Super Kings. His 54-ball 71 earned him the man of the match award and some high praise from his captain.
“He’s (Suryakumar) probably is one of our best batsmen against spin. We knew the spin threat CSK possess will be a huge factor. Suryakumar plays spin very well. I have seen him at close quarters. The shots he plays behind the wicket, those are not easy shots. Always knew he was going to come good at some stage,” Sharma said after the match.
In fact, apart from the catch Vijay failed to hold on to and a late sharp chance that Shane Watson dropped at slips, Yadav kept most of his shots along the ground. He admitted the shot selection was influenced by seeing how the pitch behaved while Chennai were batting.
“After first innings, I saw what happened, not too many players were able to hit the shots in the air. So I wanted to play down the ground, pick singles and doubles,” Yadav said after the match when asked about his shot selection.
“Had the chat after first innings that someone from the top-order will have to play towards the end because it won’t be easy for players coming in later,” Yadav said.
The Chepauk pitch had quickened up a bit and batting in the chase wasn’t treacherous as it threatened to be until the 13th over of the first inning. With some positive play and Ishan Kishan holding up the other end, Yadav kept Mumbai in the hunt throughout and eventually guided his team to victory despite a late flurry of wickets.