“Kohli’s Sledging Was On Another Level”: Suryakumar On IPL 2020 Face-Off

In the 2020 season of the Indian Premier League (IPL), there was an intense stare-off between Mumbai Indians star Suryakumar Yadav and then Royal Challengers Bangalore captain Virat Kohli. Chasing 165, MI got off to a slow start, but then Suryakumar ensured that he saw his team home, despite wickets falling around him. His knock of 79 off 43 and his ‘calm down, I got this’ gesture after the match have become famous, but another memory from that game that has stayed on is the stare-off between him and Kohli during his innings.

Speaking to presenter Gaurav Kapur on his show ‘Breakfast With Champions’, Suryakumar revealed that Kohli always has a different energy level on the pitch, but his sledging went up a notch that day as it was a crucial match for both teams.

“That’s his style. His energy on the ground is always at a different level. And that game was extremely important for both teams so Virat’s sledging was on another level in that match,” he said.

“I was focused on myself, like ‘boss, whatever happens, you cannot lose focus and have to win the match at any cost’. The ball went to him and he made that action from there and it was very instinctive,” he went on to say.

He was applauded for the calm and composed manner in which he dealt with the situation, up against one of the more feisty characters in Indian cricket.

But how calm was he in that moment really?

“I was chewing gum at that time, but inside, I was terrified. My heart was racing fast. He’s also not saying anything, I’m also not saying anything and I just had a voice coming from inside telling myself ‘bro, I’m falling on your feet, don’t say anything. It’s just a matter of 10 seconds, the new over will start and he won’t be able to stare at me for long,'” Suryakumar revealed.

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“He walked past me, and luckily I dropped my bat and it helped break the tension in that situation. I didn’t even look at him for the rest of the match. I just kept my eyes down and batted through. We never even spoke about the topic again,” he said.

The batter went on to help Mumbai Indians win their fifth IPL title that year and has since gone on to become a key part of the Indian squad as well in the shortest format.

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