On a day when Mumbai Indians celebrated captain Rohit Sharma’s birthday with a last-over win over the Rajasthan Royals, it was another Mumbai-based batter who stole the spotlight at the Wankhede Stadium.

Yashasvi Jaiswal made the highest score for an uncapped Indian batter in the Indian Premier League when he smashed a 62-ball 124 to propel the Rajasthan Royals to 212/7 on Sunday.

However, the 21-year-old’s heroics went in vain as Suryakumar Yadav (55), Tim David (45*) and Cameron Green (44) helped MI chase down the target with three balls to spare.

Jaiswal took home the award for the player of the match even impressing MI and India captain Sharma who said, “I watched him last year as well. This year he has taken his game to another level.

“I was just asking him, ‘Where is that power coming from’. Because last year I did not see so many sixes. He was timing it so nicely. He said he’s been spending a lot of time in the gym which is good because he has got a lot of talent and the kind of domestic season he has had, he has taken that form into the IPL. I wish that he continues that form. It’s good for him, for Indian cricket and obviously good for RR,” Sharma added at the post-match presentation.

For Jaiswal, the century was the culmination of the hard-work he has put in over the years in the domestic circuit.

“When I completed my century, I didn’t know whether the ball went to the boundary. When I realised that it had, I thanked God for giving me this beautiful time and thank you for everything,” Jaiswal said after picking up the player of the match award.

“Days like this can happen. I want to focus on the process and work hard, and have the belief to follow my dreams. The results will come automatically. I keep myself mentally strong and I try to stay strong. I also focus on my fitness and maintain a disciplined life outside cricket,” he added.

Jaiswal has been one of RR’s consistent performers over the past three seasons. He scored more than 200 runs in the 2021 and 2022 seasons but as Sharma said, the youngster has taken his game to another level this season. He currently sits on the top of the ‘Orange Cap’ standings – for the most runs scored in the season – with 428 runs at an impressive strike rate of 159.60.

Speaking at the post-match press conference, RR head coach Kumar Sangakkara said that Jaiswal has the potential and talent to become a regular for the Indian national team should he continue to put in the effort.

“He’s not just extremely talented but also hard-working. He spends a lot of time in preparation and in the nets working on his game. He has worked on his game for three to four years with us and it just shows that he is very driven and the result is there. He played beautifully today. Batted almost through the entire innings and was exceptional. I thought he set us up for what was a fantastic total. Yash has a long way to go, not just with us, but also internationally. He just needs to keep working hard, keep producing runs and keep knocking on the door,” Sangakkara said.

In their next match, RR will host defending champions Gujarat Titans on Friday while MI will travel to Mohali to face Punjab Kings on Wednesday.