In recent months, ‘SKY’ has found himself unleashing some of his incredible array of strokes with Kohli watching in awe from the other end, notably during the incredible 26-ball 68 against Hong Kong.
On Thursday too, Kohli seemed to delight in Surya’s range of wristy strokeplay and his ability to move into position early before launching. The sight of Kohli punching the air with glee as Surya goes ballistic is starting to become common.
Kohli is the yin to Suryakumar’s yang. One, Kohli, is more conventional: he takes his time to settle down, calmly taps the ball around before unleashing when set. ‘SKY’ is a bundle of dynamite ready to explode at any moment to take the pressure away from the senior pro.
“He just clears your thoughts,” Suryakumar said about Kohli. “When I was batting and I was a little confused when I was inside, he was just coming up to me and telling me what delivery (I) can now expect from the bowler. It’s a very good camaraderie, and I’m really enjoying batting with him right now.”
The pair now has four partnerships of 50-plus for the third wicket in T20Is in the last three months, two of them above hundred and two nearly there. It started with the unbeaten 98-run stand against HK in August, followed by the 104-run stand against Australia in Hyderabad in September and the 102 against South Africa in Guwahati in October.
Another strong result. 🇮🇳💪 https://t.co/J5gKb6za8F
— Virat Kohli (@imVkohli) 1666867614000
On Thursday, they put together an unbeaten 95 against the Netherlands. Clearly there’s some magic happening there: in 12 innings across formats they have scored 551 runs at 61.22.
So what makes the partnership click on a consistent basis? “I feel we respect each others’ game when we are batting together. For example, if I am getting a few boundaries from one end, then he tries to rotate and to keep the intent to look for good shots.
“We try to run as hard as possible. You know, when you are batting with him, you have to run hard. If I get a few boundaries earlier then our partnership needs to be stretched and that is what I am doing,” Suryakumar said.
Just to put things in perspective, Suryakumar is playing for the first time on Australian soil.
Another good outing 🇮🇳✌️ https://t.co/8WfJiEPnh2
— Surya Kumar Yadav (@surya_14kumar) 1666871691000
“This is the first time I’ve come to Australia,” he said. “There has been a challenge. Obviously, bigger grounds, quicker wickets.”
In SKY’s world, inverse logic works best: “Back home in Mumbai, Wankhede also has good wickets, so it has helped me. I’m really enjoying batting here!” Wonder what the Aussie cricketers have to say about that!
No wonder Netherlands were most wary of Suryakumar in the lead-up to the game. After all, he could make all the difference between a humiliating defeat to India and a face-saving one.
Pacer Paul van Meekeren explained why. “I think we know how good ‘SKY’ is. Over the last 12 months, if not longer, I’ve felt he was the biggest threat to bowl to,” Meekeren said.
“With his open stance, the margin of error is a lot smaller compared to Kohli, who is a bit more traditional. The biggest pressure came when I was bowling to ‘SKY’. If you miss a little bit, he punishes you.” India will be hoping the duo can repeat the magic against mighty South Africa in bouncy Perth.