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Suryakumar Yadav shows once again why he is so difficult to bowl touniquemytrip.com

Mumbai Indians might be the worst team on every bowling metric in IPL 2023. Yet they are in a four-way tie for the fourth position on the points table. They have conceded 200 in four straight games, but have chased it down in two of them.
Against Punjab Kings on Wednesday, Mumbai’s latest debutant, Akash Madhwal from Uttarakhand, absolutely nailed a yorker outside off. But, in what should attract protests from rights bodies, Jitesh Sharma timed it away for four through point.

Lucknow Super Giants have the perfect four-spinner attack for the slow turners they play on, but they lost successive home games to teams with two frontline spinners each in their sides.

The idea that bowlers have little agency in T20 cricket is only just becoming mainstream, especially with the Impact Player lengthening batting orders and raising risk-taking ability. Cricket does include luck in every format, but in a format so short, the correlation between the quality of the delivery and the outcome is hard to establish.

On most days, bowlers turn up and do the same thing, but the results can be vastly different. It shouldn’t have taken so long for this conversation because for three years at least, we have been seeing Suryakumar Yadav render bowlers and captains helpless. In just one over, Suryakumar reiterated it just in case you had forgotten it during his golden-ducks phase.
Nathan Ellis, the best bowler on show in the Kings attack, had the ball in the 14th over of the chase. In the previous over, Suryakumar had played that famous open-face drive for a six behind square on the off side. So Ellis thought he would protect that boundary and bowl slower ones outside off. Ellis nailed it, but Suryakumar went across and scooped it for a couple, imparting power to clear short fine leg through a late flick of the wrists.

So Ellis thought he would protect the leg side, and bowl straight. This time too he was not off the mark, but Suryakumar played the slice-drive over point again. Because it was a slower delivery, it didn’t go for a six but got Mumbai four runs.

Haunted, Ellis went back to Plan A. And again Suryakumar fetched it from outside off, and somehow imparted enough force into the scoop for the slower ball to clear short fine leg for another couple of runs.

It was ludicrous batting. Against any other batter, a slower-ball bowler like Ellis wouldn’t have had even that one man patrolling the boundary behind square. That’s because, as has been documented here, nobody – especially once AB de Villiers stopped playing – is as good behind square as Suryakumar.

At the time of the publishing of that piece, Suryakumar had scored 46% of his runs in the last two-and-a-half years behind square at a strike rate of 230.4, hitting a boundary every 2.4 balls he played in that region. In Wednesday’s innings of 66 off 31, Suryakumar sent 14 balls behind for more than half of his runs, hitting a boundary almost every second ball he played there, scoring at 270.

The thing is, if Kings had gone to protect both the boundaries behind square, they would have had to open up either extra cover or midwicket. Suryakumar is not shy of hitting fours and sixes there either.

Of course, there was nothing new to what Suryakumar did in setting up the successful chase of 215, but just imagine: in a format where bowlers matter little, they mean even less to Suryakumar. That swagger when he chewed gum and acknowledged the applause for his fifty was fitting.

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