Cricket

IPL 2024, Suryakumar Yadav's Fastest Fifty: 'Glad I'm Not Playing Now' - Harbhajan Singh

Spin-bowling legend Harbhajan Singh said he has "never seen someone dominating" the way Suryakumar Yadav does, after the India batter smashed a 17-ball half-century en route Mumbai Indians' win over Royal Challengers Bengaluru in match 25 of Indian Premier League 2024

AP/Rajanish Kakade
Mumbai Indians' Suryakumar Yadav plays a shot during their Indian Premier League 2024 match against Royal Challengers Bengaluru in Mumbai on Thursday (April 11). Photo: AP/Rajanish Kakade
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Harbhajan Singh felt "so glad" he is not playing cricket now. "Where do you bowl to this guy?" wondered the spin legend. The 43-year-old was talking about Suryakumar Yadav, who hit a blistering half-century to set up Mumbai Indians' seven-wicket win over Royal Challengers Bengaluru in match 25 of the Indian Premier League 2024 at Wankhede Stadium on Thursday, April 11. (Full Coverage | More Cricket News)

Yadav was sidelined for some time with an ankle injury and a sports hernia. He scored a T20I century against South Africa in December last year, then missed the action for almost four months. But the 33-year-old was at his devastating best on Thursday, punishing the RCB bowlers as the five-time champions made a mockery of the 197-run target.

Impressed with Yadav's knock, one that featured five fours and four sixes for a 19-ball 52, Singh said: "I have never seen someone dominating like the way Suryakumar does. Unbelievable... I am so glad I am not playing cricket now. At this age, where do you bowl to this guy?"

"He has got an answer for every ball you bowl to him, whether it's a wide yorker, bouncer. He can play sweep, pull, upper-cut and I don't know what else he can play," Harbhajan Singh said during a Star Sports programme. "He is a different kind of a player."

Suryakumar Yadav missed Mumbai Indians' first three matches as he continued to recover. In his first match of the season, the right-handed batter, the 'Impact Player', got out for a two-ball duck.

But in the next outing, he wasted no time in taking charge. Four balls and five runs, then a boundary off the fifth ball that he faced. 12 balls later, Yadav raced to his fastest IPL fifty, in 17 balls. And bearing the brunt of his onslaught was Reece Topley -- 18 runs in the Englishman's third over.

Yadav eventually got out in the 14th over, caught at deep point, while trying to deposit a Vijaykumar Vyshak full toss in the stands. But by then, MI were already at 176/3. Such was his impact on the game.

"Suryakumar is in a different league. When Suryakumar Yadav shines, no one can survive. We have all seen AB de Villiers; unbelievable player," Harbhajan added. "But when I see this guy, I think he is a better version of AB de Villiers. He has won more number of games for his franchise than anyone playing now in this format."

A legend of the game, de Villiers still owns the record for most Player of the Match awards won by a player in the Indian Premier League -- 25 in 184 appearances, three more than another batting great, Chris Gayle -- 22 in 142. For the record, Yadav now has eight POTM awards in 141 matches with the last one coming against Gujarat Titans for his unbeaten 103 at Wankhede last season.

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