Suryakumar Yadav sent a message to the national selectors that leaving him out of the Indian team for the T20 series in Australia was not a wise call.
Riding the right-hander's 43-ball 79 not out, Mumbai Indians beat Royal Challengers Bangalore to take sole possession of the top spot on the IPL table in terms of points. Before him, Jasprit Bumrah played a key role with the ball. Qualification for the play-offs is not assured yet, but Mumbai are almost there.
At 70/2 after 10 overs, Mumbai had a match in their hands chasing 165 to win. It became 72/3 soon after. That's when Yadav started displaying his wide range of shots. Struck with minimal force, the ball kept disappearing due to his timing and placement. Bangalore tried everything at their disposal without being able to stem the flow of runs.
Ishan Kishan (25) and Quinton de Kock (18) had got Mumbai off to a good start by adding 37 in 5.3 overs. But Bangalore claimed both when they were beginning to look dangerous.
Washington Sundar bowled four tidy overs for 20 runs, Yuzvendra Chahal and Mohammed Siraj took two wickets each and their team appeared to have a fair chance, with Mumbai needing 95 from the last 10 overs.
Yadav's calculated assault and timely improvisations dashed Bangalore's hopes. Batting in T20s is usually associated with power and the ability to hit sixes. The batsman from Mumbai showed quick scoring is not necessarily about that. He drove, cut, steered and swept to keep the scoreboard moving at a fast clip. Most of his 10 fours and three sixes came from cricketing shots, not agricultural heaves over the on side.
It was a special effort also considering that Yadav hardly had partners who got going. The Pandya brothers and Saurabh Tiwary all fell for less than 20. But in his own unhurried way, Yadav marched on. After a point, the bowlers appeared to have given up, as whatever they tried kept racing away to the boundary.
Yadav's knock upstaged a fine innings by Bangalore opener Devdutt Padikkal, who brought up his fourth fifty of the season. The left-hander's 45-ball 74 was also an effort highlighted by minimal use of power. Other than that, he played mostly along the ground instead of taking the aerial route.
At 88/1 after 10 overs, with AB de Villiers still to come, Bangalore were on course for 180-plus. But Bumrah showed why he is rated so highly to bring his team back. He dismissed Virat Kohli, Padikkal and Shivam Dube in quick succession. At one stage, his figures read 3-1-9-3. From 134/5 after 17, Bangalore did well to reach 164, which proved insufficient due to the belligerence of Yadav.
Brief Scores: RCB 164/6 in 20 ovs (Padikkal 74, Philippe 33, Bumrah 3/14) lost to MI 166/5 in 19.5 ovs (Yadav 79 n.o).