A blazing unbeaten century by Suryakumar Yadav helped Mumbai Indians beat the reigning Indian Premier League (IPL) champions Gujarat Titans by 27 runs in Mumbai on Friday.
The world’s top-rated Twenty20 batter hit a 49-ball 103, with six sixes and 11 fours, to propel his team to 218-5 and outshone an inspired all-round performance by Afghanistan and Gujarat maverick spinner Rashid Khan.
Khan, who earlier took 4-30, hit an unbeaten 32-ball 79 with ten sixes to take Gujarat from 103-8 in the 14th over to 191-8 in reply.
Gujarat captain Hardik Pandya won the toss and chose to field, but immediately faced aggressive hitting by Mumbai skipper and opener Rohit Sharma, who hit 18-ball 29, in a 61-run opening partnership with Ishan Kishan.
However, Mumbai lost Sharma, Kishan (31) and rookie Nehal Wadhera (15) to slip to 88-3 before Yadav took charge for his first IPL century in yet another player-of-the-match performance.
Khan, who removed both the openers as well as Wadhera and Tim David, was the only threatening Gujarat bowler.
Gujarat then made the worst possible start, losing openers Wriddhiman Saha (two), Shubman Gill (six) and skipper Pandya (four) by the fourth over.
In-form all-rounder Vijay Shankar (29) failed to convert a promising start and fell to Piyush Chawla’s leg spin.
The current IPL table-toppers kept losing wickets to tight lengths by Mumbai spinners Chawla (2-36) and Kumar Kartikeya (2-37).
Indian rookie pacer Akash Madhwal bowled four tight overs and took three wickets for 31 runs and Mumbai looked set wrap the game early before Khan’s arrival.
Mumbai had no answers to Khan’s power.
Pandya said that it “felt like only Rashid Khan turned up from our team (and) batted and bowled incredibly well”.
“People have spoken enough about” Yadav, “one of the best batters in T20 cricket. Really tough to set fields for him,” Pandya said about his India teammate after the defeat.