Suryakumar reaffirmed his status as the world’s number one T20 batter with another magnificent effort as India crushed Zimbabwe by 71 runs to set up a T20 World Cup semifinal date with England.
“The dugout can really be at ease when he bats, and he’s shown a lot of composure when he’s batted. We expected this from him, and he’s gone from strength to strength,” Rohit said at the post-match presentation ceremony.
Suryakumar blasted an unbeaten 61 from 25 balls after KL Rahul set it up with a brisk fifty.
In reply to India’s 186 for five, Zimbabwe were bowled out for 115 in 17.2 overs.
“What SKY is doing for the team is remarkable, just coming out there, playing that way, taking the pressure off the others. We know his ability, and it allows the guy at the other end to take his time,” Rohit added.
Zimbabwe’s batting depth was never enough to challenge the Indian bowlers with Ravichandran Ashwin (3/22) enjoying a good day at the office. In fact, all the other Indian bowlers were among wickets in one of the most lopsided games of this global event.
“A very good all-round performance, something we were looking for. We had qualified, but we wanted to come out and play the way we wanted to play, which we achieved.”
Rohit said going into the semifinals at the Adelaide Oval, the key will be adjusting to the conditions quickly.
“The key for us will be to adjust quickly to the conditions. We have played a game there, but we need to adjust quickly. England are a good team, and it will be a great contest.
“We should take pride in qualifying, firstly, and if we play that semi-final well, we have another big game as well. It’s about understanding the lines and lengths – the square boundaries are shorter – and executing well.
“The fans have been brilliant all this while, almost everywhere we have gone we’ve got a full house, and we expect the same in the semi-finals as well. On behalf of the team I’d really like to thank them.”
While the cricket world might be in awe of his game, Player of the Match Suryakumar said he is not trying anything different, and only looks to execute what he does at training in the match.
“I think the plan was very clear when me and Hardik were batting. He said let’s take the positive route and see where we end up. We started hitting the ball well and never stopped till the 20th over. The atmosphere in the team is very nice, and the build-up to the knockouts has been very nice.
T20 WC: ‘SKY’ stars as India beat Zimbabwe to set up England semi-final
“My plan is always clear. I’m not trying anything different. I bat the same way in the nets as well.”
Asked about his performance this year, Suryakumar said, “Feels really good, but coming out and starting from zero is what I always think when I come out to bat, and I’ll keep doing that. It’s good to see people come out and support us like this even after we’ve qualified.”
Zimbabwe skipper Craig Ervine said his team deviated from the positive approach that worked well for the side in the first half of the tournament, when it also stunned Pakistan.
“I think maybe we could have changed up a couple of other plans. Suryakumar was brilliant at the end, negated Richey’s wide yorkers, which was our main plan. We could maybe have changed our pace a bit more there.
“Leading up to the tournament, we went in looking to be positive at the top, but the last 2-3 games we kind of went away from there,” Ervine said.
Zimbabwe conceded as many as 79 runs in the last five overs after taking a few wickets.
“The ball was swinging, but to counter that we probably could have moved around a little bit, been more proactive.
“We mustn’t forget the work we did to get into the Super 12s. We’ll look to build on that. Our catching wasn’t so good in the last few games, but I know the boys worked really hard on that,” the Zimbabwe captain said.