‘Our captain said…’: Suryakumar makes major Hardik Pandya team-talk revelation, recalls brutal warning before 3rd T20I
The win helped India keep the series alive, and reduced the deficit to 2-1 with two more matches left to be played.
After enduring consecutive defeats, Team India on Tuesday finally returned to winning ways and beat West Indies by seven wickets in the third T20I, which was played at the Providence Stadium, Guyana. The win helped India keep the series alive, and reduce the deficit to 2-1 with two more matches left to be played.
India were rocked early in the 160-run chase as the new opening pair of Yashasvi Jaiswal and Shubman Gill were dismissed for single-digit scores in the powerplay overs. However, West Indies failed to seize the momentum and Suryakumar Yadav, who walked in at number three, blew away the hosts with his ultra-aggressive approach. He, along with Tilak Varma, who has been the biggest positive from the T20Is, added 87 runs for the third wicket, tilting the contest almost entirely in India's favour.
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Suryakumar's innings eventually got over at 83 off 44 balls after he was caught at backward square leg by Brandon King off Alzarri Joseph's low fulltoss. Suryakumar's bat had remained quiet so far in the tour but on Tuesday he entertained the crowd with his flamboyant display. Batting at a strike-rate of almost 190, his match-deciding knock featured 10 boundaries and four maximums.
When asked about his mindset during the post-match presentation ceremony, Suryakumar said: “It was really important to be myself when I went in to bat in the powerplay, that's what the team management also wanted."
After India's two-wicket defeat in the second T20I, Hardik Pandya on Sunday had put the blame on batters, also asking them to be more responsible. India then could only manage 152/7 on the board, leaving West Indies a target which they completed with seven balls to spare. The story was almost similar in the series opener with Pandya and co. then crumbling and falling short by four runs in the 150-run chase.
Being one of the senior members, also Pandya's deputy for the series, Suryakumar was glad that he stood up to his captain's expectations.
“It was running on the back of my mind (that India had never lost three T20Is in a row) but at the same time we spoke in the team meeting, our captain said someone needs to put their hand up and win the match, glad I was able to do that,” he said.
The two teams will now meet on Saturday in Lauderhill, Florida for the fourth encounter, which if West Indies win will help them seal the series. India, on the other hand, will look to go back on even terms and setup a cracking series finale, which will again be played at the same venue the very next day.