Suryakumar Yadav and Virat Kohli
Both scored half-centuries against Hong Kong but both were tremendously diverse innings.
Suryakumar Yadav and Yasim Murtaza both placed on either side of the fielder at deep square leg.
Hong Kong’s delight at dismissing Rahul in the 13th over with India 94 for 2 quickly dissipated and they were under the pump within minutes.
Rahul fell, Hong Kong’s strategy had been simple but effective – an apt demonstration of the old sticking to the basics. They tried nothing impressive and were not showing nerves against an opponent who was extremely out of their league.
Rahul and Kohli who are both trying to fight their way back into form. Rahul, in particular, had barely shown him off their lengths in the power play. The only aggressive shot in this period was a swat for six off free-hit.
Kohli as well was far from fluent in only his second match after a month of break. The pitch in Dubai was not conducive to carefree stroke play, so he started working the ball into gaps and running as hard as he could to keep the score moving. T20 context nowadays, innings made by Kohli may have been classified as a struggle, but there he made a concerted effort towards rediscovering his impact.
Kohli gave himself the best chance of leveraging in the death overs. It was about staying in the fight. His known trademark strut and swagger had not disappeared altogether. Although, he occasionally played big shots like the two towering sixes deep into the stands over midwicket, while the second was more striking than the first. Yet, Kohli’s show was a toil.
Kohli had made 15 off 18 balls without boundary, after ten overs.
During the 11th, immediately after a break, he seemed to flick a switch as he stepped out to drill leg spinner Mohammad Ghazanfar down the ground. In the 13th, Kohli then struck his first six, clean slog sweep over deep midwicket. India’s innings had reached a take-off point, and Suryakumar came to the crease with six overs to go.
Unlike Kohli, who had done hard work, Suryakumar needed no sighters as he was the definition of plug-and-play, and he played as though he was in a different world to Kohli.
Suryakumar’s 360-degree skills were channeled within two balls of his arrival. There was Kohli’s hard toil at one end and Suryakumar’s amazing innovation at the other.
Kohli was obviously playing by the book while Suryakumar had shuffled across his stumps to access the area over short fine leg. When he realized he had given away his intention a split-second early and allowed the bowler to go fuller.
Kohli was on 33 when Suryakumar joined him. After 98 off 42 balls for the third wicket. Suryakumar had flown to 68 off 26 balls. Kohli also boxed hard for 59 off 44.
Player of the Match
Suryakumar Yadav (IND) – 68* (26)
India 192/2 (20)
Hong Kong 152/5 (20)