Kohli, the new (six) hitman, Surya plays for the team, even when on 45 & the emotional Axar
Kohli, the new (six) hitman, Surya plays for the team, even when on 45 & the emotional Axar. A reluctant six-hitter is how Virat Kohli presents himself. Possibly on purpose, he is underselling his abilities.
Maybe he’s not as reckless with the six as Suryakumar Yadav or as laid-back as Rohit Sharma. However, he can hit a massive home run (one every 24 balls he meets is not a bad average; Rohit Sharma’s average is somewhat better at 21).
Recently, however, he’s started to rev up his six-hitting. He has a strike rate of one every 12 balls over the last four games. One of them, especially the most recent one, took Australia out of the running.
With a superb swing over long-on off the first delivery from Daniel Sams, India reduced the equation to a more manageable five runs off as many balls, needing only four more to win.
Six-hitting is where he does most of his work. With a step and a half forward, a complete step back, a high back-lift, and an explosive downswing, the ball would crack off the willow like a gun.
When Surya is on 45, he still plays for the team.
The game’s veterans use a ‘team player’ test to determine if a batter is out there to achieve personal goals or to assist the team wins. When they’re in their forties, they want you to keep an eye on them.
If a batter is getting close to 50 and continues to hit the ball around, he will be labeled “selfish” by his teammates. These players wait for applause from the spectators before returning to their big-hitting ways.
Some players, though, are focused on the team’s goals regardless of the score. You could see the astonishment in Virat Kohli’s eyes whenever he and Surya Kumar Yadav met midfield to punch gloves after the Mumbai Mauler had delivered one more proper good ball over the fence.
Surya was only in his 40s at Hyderabad, where he was leading a close chase, which was irrelevant. The run rate was increasing, so Surya took a chance and hit Adam Zampa’s low full toss for a wristy six when he was 45. A six was his average on the following ball he hit.
Surya’s on-his-toes riding-the-bounce six off Sams was hailed as the tournament shot by commentator Mathew Hayden, but India’s six off Zampa on 45 proved more crucial in the end.
Suryakumar Yadav signaled hastily that he would be coming to the ground level. Adam Zampa saw the action coming and bowled the ball into Yadav’s midsection, cutting off any chance for him to free his arms.
Turns out it was a low full toss, leaving Yadav confused and with little room to maneuver. There appeared to be only one direction for him to go: down the field, where the straight fielders would meet him. It was tough to time the shot so the ball would soar above the barriers.
He wasn’t in the optimal position to hit a lob over the net, but his wrists are so supple and his mind so quick that he still did it. He kept his balance, shifted his weight slightly to the leg side, and swung his wrists wildly to pack the ball over mid-wicket.
Hyderabad, the home of wrist artists like Mohammad Azharuddin and VVS Laxman, was the ideal location to unleash the strokes.
The emotional Axar
Emotions erupted in Axar Patel like a conflagration. He would yell and wave his hands in the air in frustration one minute. Within a heartbeat, he’d be raising his arms in triumph.
He’d sag down in defeat, then spring into the air in elation at the sight of the following ball.
That day, luck seemed to swing both ways. Cameron Green looked down on him (a total of five “fours”), yet he still allowed the attack to dampen his spirits.
After dismissing Aaron Finch and getting Glenn Maxwell to run out, he ran out the well-set Josh Inglis and Matthew Wade in the same over.
Not only was Wade Australia’s most damaging batter in the series, but he was also out of his mind with glee once his wicket fell, thanks to some slick bowling and quick fielding.
The ball was launched from well outside the crease, swung in, fell behind the batsman’s length, and then halted right in front of him as he tried to punch it away.
As Axar’s emotions bubbled to the surface, he reached to his left and snatched the catch from the air, where it had been floating harmlessly.
Red hot Green
Cameron Green’s goal in any game, T20 or otherwise, is to smash every ball out of the park.
The first delivery he faced from Bhuvneshwar Kumar was an out-swinging full ball.
He was not in the mood for any sort of physical contact. He took a ferocious swing at the ball but miscued it to the outfielders. He didn’t let the setback discourage him.
The next ball he faced dipped onto his pads and smashed it for a six over square leg. The following pitch was blasted past the outfielders’ mitts, reminiscent of a right-handed Matthew Hayden.
Even with spin, he could not break free, as he would simply rock back into the crease, create space for himself, and slap boundaries with his long reach.
Even against Jasprit Bumrah, he remained calm and collected, picking three sixes and a four. For one of the sixes, he pulled the ball from outside off-stump and sent it over midwicket. A daring attempt against the experienced sailor.
Green reached his half-century off of only 19 balls, dismissing Axar for three fours in his following over.