Shreyas Iyer can perhaps be called unlucky. He was next in line to make it to the Indian limited-overs and Test side in the middle order. However, an Indian under-19 World Cup win and some compelling domestic performances from others have seen him go down the pecking order. The likes of Prithvi Shaw, Shubman Gill, Karun Nair, Manish Pandey, Rishabh Pant, Vijay Shankar and Kedar Jadhav all earning more game time than him.
However, Iyer, whose double hundred against a visiting Australian side in a warm-up game, got immense attention a few years ago, is back in the headlines, this time for a spectacular knock in the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 competition for Mumbai against Sikkim in their first match of the tournament this year.
Walking in at no.3 - behind Ajinkya Rahane and Prithvi Shaw - in a star-studded Mumbai line-up, Iyer smashed a clueless Sikkim attack in a 55-ball onslaught. He racked up a record 147, scoring at an astounding strike rate of 267.27. He combined with Suryakumar Yadav in a 213-run stand in 82 balls, the highest for the third wicket or lower in all T20s.
In the process, Iyer also knocked off the highest score by an Indian player in the shortest format of the game going past Pant's 128* in the IPL in 2018. It is also the second highest score by an Asian player behind Kamran Akmal's 150*.
The knock involved 15 maximums which is again the highest in an innings by an Indian player in T20s. He is only the fourth player after Chris Gayle (thrice), Graham Napier and Dasun Shanaka to hit 15 or more sixes in a T20 innings. For India, the record lay with Pant who had slammed 12 sixes for Delhi in a game against Himachal Pradesh.
Iyer reached his hundred in 38 balls which is the fourth quickest by an Indian (after Pant, Rohit Sharma and Yusuf Pathan) and scored 118 of his 147 runs in boundaries, a total of 80.27% in fours and sixes. Mumbai racked up a total of 258 in the game and won by a margin of 154 runs. The total is the highest in the history of the Syed Mushtaq Ali competition. It is also the seventh highest in all T20 cricket and third best on Indian soil.
Iyer followed up his carnage with a useful 40-ball 46 against Punjab in the next game and appears to be in great nick ahead of another IPL season. Last year, he had played a pivotal role for Delhi Daredevils (now Delhi Capitals) with 411 runs at an average of 37.36. This time around, a good IPL can once again get him in the fray for a middle-order spot in India’s T20 side.
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