Suryakumar Yadav put on a stellar performance with the bat on Wednesday, as his 26-ball 68 helped India to a 40-run win over Hong Kong at the Dubai International Stadium, to qualify for the Super Four stage of the 2022 Asia Cup.

Yadav joined Virat Kohli in the 13th over with India’s score 94/2 and the duo stitched an unbeaten 98-run partnership to help India set up a 193-run target. Of Yadav’s 68 runs, 26 came in the final over as he hit four sixes off Haroon Arshad.

Yadav’s innings left Kohli stunned, as the former captain bowed after the innings with photos and videos of his reaction going viral.

Asked in the post-match press conference about Kohli’s reaction, Yadav said, “It was a heart-warming gesture for me because I had never seen it before. I was wondering why he was walking behind me and not going ahead. Then I asked him to walk together. He is much more experienced than me.

“I had a lot of fun batting with him. The plan was very clear. We were talking a lot, what to do in a situation and so on. Having that experience was important because I haven’t played as many T20s as he has.”

On a slow pitch, opener KL Rahul struggled to impose himself in his 39-ball 36-run knock as India put up 94 runs at the time of his dismissal in the the 13th over. On asked if he would be willing play as an opener, Yadav jokingly asked if the media wants Rahul to be dropped before adding that he is not a player who sticks to a particular batting position.

“He (Rahul) is coming back from an injury and needs some time. We have some time now but I am very flexible and can bat anywhere the team wants me to bat. I have told the coach and the captain to bat me at any number but just keep me in the team.”

India got off to a slow start batting first but Yadav said that with the number of explosive in-form batters, the team always believed that they would be able to set a good target.

“Batting first is a challenge like you said but we are working on how to bat first and what targets to set. We did that today as well, where after batting first, what the total should be, what should be our tempo in the middle and how to finish the innings, who are the batters left and what are their roles; that was all clear.

“So if I was unable to fulfil that role, then Rishabh (Pant) or DK (Dinesh Karthik) or Jaddu (Ravindra Jadeja) would have done it. We have enough firepower to get a good total in the first innings.”

Elaborating on his personal batting plan, Yadav said, “I always try to bat like I want to. Obviously I keep the situation in mind when we are batting first. The period from overs 7-15 is important where all teams try to control the game. I try to take risks but also not get out. I plan my shots before I go out to bat and just express myself.”