Former Indian opener-turned politician Gautam Gambhir has hailed the duo of Suryakumar Yadav and Hardik Pandya for scoring ‘tough middle-order runs’ to ensure that Team India kept up with the scoring rate, eventually finishing with a massive total of 2-224 in 20 overs.
India got off to a brilliant start in the series-decider as Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli hammered 94 runs in 8.5 overs before the former was dismissed by Ben Stokes for a stylish 34-ball 64.
However, Rohit’s wicket did not have any impact on the scoring rate as Suryakumar Yadav came out all guns blazing, smashing two sixes and three fours during his 17-ball 32.
Yadav was dismissed after Chris Jordan pulled off a stunning catch at the boundary but just like him, Hardik Pandya ensured that temp of the innings continued as he belted out an unbeaten 17-ball 39 which included two sixes and four fours.
Virat Kohli, on the other hand, played the role of a sheet anchor perfectly as his fellow batsmen continued to go bonkers at the other end.
While Gambhir lauded Virat Kohli’s knock, he reckoned that Team India wouldn’t have reached the total that they eventually posted had the likes of Suryakumar Yadav and Hardik Pandya nor played those cameos.
“I’m not going to take anything away from Virat Kohli but then he had people like Suryakumar Yadav. There wasn’t a single phase in these 20 overs where England was in control,” Gambhir said in a video on ESPNCricinfo.
“Mostly there have been times when a team gets off to a flier – six overs 60 runs – but there is a phase after those six overs, where the team tries to push it back, especially the bowling team. But if you see Suryakumar Yadav’s innings, if you can get that 30-odd off 17 balls and you can continue that same momentum, it’s always difficult.” he said.
‘It’s easy for Virat Kohli because he’s been in and he’s batted for six overs. But suddenly after coming out to bat after six overs, and playing at that tempo and Hardik Pandya coming in and playing on that tempo, it’s a different ball game,” Gambhir added.
“Yes, Kohli batted throughout and you expect Virat to do that. If he bats through, he will get a strike rate of probably 140. But then it’s those difficult runs which I was mentioning about, how important it is after six overs. So what they – Surya and Hardik – did was commendable. Can’t be perfect that this… from start till the end.” said Gambhir.
India eventually defended the total despite a scare from Dawid Malan and Jos Buttler thanks to Bhuvneshwar Kuma’s stunning spell that saw him concede just 15 runs in four overs and claim two wickets in the process.