His unbeaten 46 off 27 deliveries against KKR at the Wankhede Stadium helped Mumbai Indians top the table at the end of the group stage. And then in Qualifier 1, on a slow turning track against Chennai Super Kings, Suryakumar produced his second-highest IPL score (unbeaten 71 of 54 balls) helping his team seal a place in their fifth IPL final.
The Mumbai No.3 came out to bat when the side had lost their skipper, Rohit Sharma off just the second delivery of the chase. Not too long after Quinton De Kock – their highest run-scorer this season – too exited to leaving Mumbai in a spot of bother at 21 for 2.
Suryakumar took his chances and creamed Deepak Chahar for two consecutive boundaries in the fifth over. With Ishan Kishan attacking Harbhajan Singh in the last over of the powerplay, clearly Mumbai's strategy was not to get bogged down.
With the required run-rate just a tad above 6, the pair decided to consolidate and build a partnership. They put their heads down, rotated the strike and got the odd boundary. Without taking any undue risks the duo kept eating into the target. The pair added 25 in the 4 overs after the powerplay but more importantly, did not lose a wicket.
Mumbai had moved to 69 for 2 at the half-way stage. MS Dhoni had thrown everything at them – from Harbhajan to Imran Tahir to Dwayne Bravo to Ravindra Jadeja – but could not get a breakthrough.
Suryakumar and Kishan put together a match-winning 80-run stand for the 3rd wicket of just 10.3 overs. Suryakumar dominated the partnership and was the aggressor with 47 off just 32 deliveries (Kishan contributed 28 off 31).
Although Tahir saw the back of Kishan and Krunal Pandya off successive deliveries, the damage had already been done. Mumbai were well on their way to the finals.
Suryakumar remained unbeaten on 71 off just 54 deliveries, including 10 hits to the fence. He also picked 21 singles and five twos during his knock. It was a mature innings under pressure and spoke volumes of his temperament.
He was in control for 83% of his innings and his most productive scoring area was between long on and deep mid-wicket where he got 20 runs.
The 28-year-old faced 35 deliveries against the famed CSK spin trio scoring 39 of his 71 runs against them. He was particularly impressive against Tahir – their best bowler of the season - and took him for 20 runs off 13 deliveries. On a wicket aiding spin considerably this was a fantastic performance showcasing his prowess against quality spin. It is not surprising he has an average of 43 against spin in his IPL career.
Barring three failures in the first five matches of the season, Suryakumar had always got starts but seldom converted them into anything substantial. He has registered two fifties, one score in the 40s, two scores in the 30s and as many as 5 scores in the 20s this season.
Overall, he has aggregated 409 runs in 14 innings at an average of 34.08 and strike rate of 133.22 in IPL 2019 and is the second-highest scorer for Mumbai after de Kock.
He was their highest run scorer in 2018 with 512 runs in 14 innings at 36.57 (strike rate of 133.33). Although he hasn’t exactly set the tournament on fire, Suryakumar is peaking at the right time for Mumbai.
First Published: May 8, 2019, 2:08 AM IST