In recent months, ‘SKY’ found himself unleashing some of his incredible streak of shots with Kohli looking on in awe, most notably during the incredible 26-ball 68 against Hong Kong.
On Thursday too, Kohli seemed to revel in Surya’s range-jointed batting and his ability to move into position early before the launch. The sight of Kohli punching the air with glee as Surya goes ballistic is becoming 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 releasing when set. ‘SKY’ is a bundle of dynamite ready to explode at any moment to take the pressure off the senior pro.
“He just clears your mind,” Suryakumar said of Kohli. “When I was batting and I was a bit confused when I was in, he just came to me and told me what delivery (I) can expect from the bowler now. It’s a really good camaraderie, and I’m really enjoying batting with him now.”
The pair now have four 50-plus third-wicket partnerships in T20Is in the last three months, two of them more than a hundred and two almost there. It started with the unbeaten 98-run stand against HK in August, followed by the 104 runs 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
They compiled an unbeaten 95 against the Netherlands on Thursday. Clearly, there is 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 other’s game when we bat together. For example, if I get a couple of boundaries from one end, then he tries to turn and keep the intention of looking for good shots.
“We try to run as hard as possible. You know, when you bat with him, you have to run hard. If I get some boundaries earlier, our partnership needs to be stretched and that is what I am doing,” said Suryakumar.
Just to put things in perspective, Suryakumar is playing on Australian soil for the first time.
Another nice trip 🇮🇳✌️ https://t.co/8WfJiEPnh2
— Surya Kumar Yadav (@surya_14kumar) 1666871691000
“This is the first time I have come to Australia,” he said. “There was a challenge. Of course, bigger grounds, faster wickets.”
In SKY’s world, reverse logic works best: “Back home in Mumbai, Wankhede also has good wickets, so that helped me. I really enjoy batting here!” Wonder what the Aussie cricketers have to say about that!
No wonder the Netherlands were most wary of Suryakumar in the run-up to the match. After all, he could make all the difference between a humiliating defeat against India and a face saver.
Pacer Paul van Meekeren explained why. “I think we know how good ‘SKY’ is. Over the last 12 months, if not longer, I felt he was the biggest threat to bowl in front of,” said Meekeren.
“With his open attitude, the margin of error is much smaller compared to Kohli, who is a bit more traditional. The biggest pressure came when I bowled to ‘SKY’. If you miss a little, he punishes you.” India will be hoping that the duo can repeat the magic against the mighty South Africa in the bouncy Perth.