On Saturday, at the time when it was the most needed, Team India put out their best performance so far in the series-decider.
It was the best they had looked in the five-match series against England as they went on to take the match by 36 runs and the series 3-2.
Former India batsman Gautam Gambhir lauded Suryakumar Yadav and Hardik Pandya’s quick-fire knock that he believes gave Virat Kohli the time to settle into his own innings.
“I’m not going to take anything away from Virat Kohli but then he had people like Suryakumar Yadav. There wasn’t a single phase in these 20 overs where England was in control,” Gambhir told ESPNCricinfo.
“Mostly there have been times when a team gets off to a flier six overs 60 runs but there is a phase after those six overs, where the team tries to push it back, especially the bowling team. But if you see Suryakumar Yadav’s innings, if you can get that 30-odd off 17 balls and you can continue that same momentum, it’s always difficult.”
Suryakumar and Pandya did not let the tempo drop, says Gambhir
Gambhir added that Suryakumar and Pandya were the two batsmen who ably supported Kohli, but also went on to score the ‘difficult runs’ for the team.
‘It’s easy for Virat Kohli because he’s been in and he’s batted for six overs. But suddenly after coming out to bat after six overs, and playing at that tempo and Hardik Pandya coming in and playing on that tempo, it’s a different ball game.
“Yes, Kohli batted throughout and you expect Virat to do that. If he bats through, he will get a strike rate of probably 140. But then it’s those difficult runs which I was mentioning about, how important it is after six overs. So what they Surya and Hardik did was commendable. Can’t be perfect that this from start till the end,” Gambhir added.
Virat Kohli led from the front with an unbeaten 52-ball 80 run knock that was studded by 7 fours and 2 sixes, while Suryakumar Yadav chipped in with 32 runs off 17 balls until he was dismissed due to a stunning catch taken by Chris Jordan at the boundary line. Hardik Pandya scored an unbeaten 39 off 17 balls and stayed at the crease with Kohli till the end.