Suryakumar Yadav | AFP
Thiruvananthapuram: Star Indian T20I batter Suryakumar Yadav's record-smashing spree continued as he overtook veteran opener, Shikhar Dhawan, to become India's leading run-scorer in the shortest format in a calendar year.
He reached this landmark during India's first T20i of the three-match series against South Africa.
In the match, Suryakumar smashed an unbeaten 50 off 33 balls at a strike rate of 151.52 on a tricky pitch during a chase of 107 runs. His knock consisted of five fours and three sixes.
This knock has taken his run tally in 2022 to 732 runs in 21 innings at an average of 40.66. One century and five half-centuries have come from his bat. His best individual score in the format this year is 117.
He has overtaken the tally of Shikhar Dhawan's 689 runs at an average of 40.52 in 2018. The left-hander had scored six half-centuries in 18 matches.
Both these batters are followed by Virat Kohli (641 runs in 2016), skipper Rohit Sharma (590 in 2018) and Rohit once again (497 runs in 2016 and 2022).
Suryakumar also is the fourth-highest run scorer in T20I cricket in a calendar year, behind Ireland's Paul Stirling (748 runs in 2019), Pakistan skipper Babar Azam (939 runs in 2021) and number one T20I batter Mohammad Rizwan from Pakistan (1,321 runs in 2021).
With this victory, India leads the series 1-0. Put to bat first by India, South Africa had a start that even nightmarish would be an understatement. The unreal swing generated by Deepak Chahar and Arshdeep Singh saw the Proteas lose half of their team for just nine runs in less than three overs.
However, fighting knocks from Keshav Maharaj (41), Aiden Markram (24) and Wayne Parnell (24) helped Proteas save face and post 106/8 in 20 overs.
Chahar (2/24) and Arshdeep (3/32) delivered brilliant four-over spells for India and destroyed South Africa's top order. Harshal Patel (2/26) and Axar Patel (1/16) also impressed with their spells.
Chasing 107, India was off to a slow start, losing Rohit Sharma (0) and Virat Kohli (3) cheap to Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje.
India was 17/2 in their six overs after the conclusion of the powerplay. KL Rahul (51*) and in-form Suryakumar Yadav (50*) took the game ahead, with Rahul anchoring and Suryakumar being the aggressor. Both stitched a match-winning 93-run stand to help India secure an eight-wicket win.
Arshdeep Singh won the 'Man of the Match' award for his brilliant spell.
The second T20I will take place in Guwahati on October 2. (ANI)