MOUNT MAUNGANUI: As Suryakumar Yadav ended his mid-innings interview with the broadcasters, wicket-keeper Rishabh Pant was heard saying "unbelievable" in the right-handed batter's ear.
Pant was just echoing the feelings that a sell-out crowd at Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui and fans back in India had after seeing Suryakumar dish out an astonishing T20I batting masterclass in the second match of the ongoing series against New Zealand.
On a sluggish pitch were almost all Indian batters found it tough to time the ball, Suryakumar, the top-ranked T20I batter, hit 11 fours and seven sixes all over the park at a strike rate of 217.65 to be unbeaten on 111 off 51 balls, his second T20I century.
"In T20 cricket a hundred is always very special, but it was also really important for me to bat till the end. It was important to maximise the last few overs. Have been doing the same things over and over again, in the nets and it's just coming off for me," said Suryakumar.
Earlier in July, Suryakumar struck his first T20I century through an astonishing 117 against England at Trent Bridge, Nottingham. In T20Is in 2022, Suryakumar is leading the run-charts in the format, amassing 1151 runs, averaging 47.95 and at a strike rate of 188.37.
Suryakumar, the top-ranked T20I batter, had recently lit up Men's T20 World Cup in Australia, slamming 239 runs at an outstanding average of 59.75 and a whopping strike-rate of 189.68, including match-tempo changing fifties against South Africa, Zimbabwe and Netherlands.
His 82-run stand off 41 balls with captain Hardik Pandya was the main driving force behind India posting 191/6 in 20 overs. "Hardik told me that we needed a score of 190-195 and happy we got there. We had a word at the end of the 16th over that we wanted to take it deep with only Hooda and Washington to follow," added Suryakumar.
It has been a whirlwind rise for Suryakumar, who made his debut for India during the T20I series against England in Ahmedabad last year and would debut in ODIs against Sri Lanka in Colombo in July. Though he averages 34 in ODIs, Suryakumar has been in limelight largely due to his T20I exploits, where he has scored 1395 runs, including two hundreds and 12 fifties.