Chennai Super Kings punched above their weight and made a fascinating comeback to the Indian Premier League by beating the reigning champions Mumbai Indians in the inaugural encounter. They won the nerve-wracking game by a whisker; the high-voltage run-chase was nurtured by Dwayne Bravo’s brute force and finished by Kedar Jadhav’s finesse to see CSK romp home with an astonishing victory.

Although MI ended up on the losing side, but they do have plenty of positives to take from this beating. Mumbai Indians have a star-studded lineup, there is absolutely no dearth of superstars in their squad. The likes of Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya, Evin Lewis and Kieron Pollard render batting a joy to behold. MI does have a reputation of investing in young and domestic talents, which has also been one of the key reasons behind their success. They had a good auction and seems to have a perfectly balanced side this year.

MI didn’t get off to a flying start and lost both the openers early. They showed immense faith in two domestic talents - Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav, as they batted at 3 and 4 respectively. At times, when a team has some big names, they often get puzzled with the order. But MI deserve accolades for promoting the young guns. Kishan and Suryakumar weathered the early storm and rescued MI innings. There was an opportunity to be grabbed and they did quite effectively. Here, let’s introspect Suryakumar’s performance and reason out why he should continue to bat in the top-order.

Suryakumar crafted 43 off 29 deliveries, which included six boundaries and a maximum. He may not have big numbers under his belt, but did well to sail the MI ship out of choppy waters. He looked in good flow and confronted the pumped CSK attack with unmatched confidence. He played some exquisite shots through the off side and was equally effective punching off the back foot.

Deepak Chahar was getting the ball to move very late and was in middle of a terrific spell. Suryakumar not only negotiated the pumped attack, but kept the scoreboard under check. His balance was great when he was hitting Chahar through the off side. MI should definitely stick with Suryakumar at 4. Most of his good innings have come higher up the order. He should be given a longer run given that he can consolidate without eating too many balls, as he did today but can also attack from the word-go.

One of the rare qualities that make Suryakumar effective is his versatility. He can bat at any given position, but would be best at 3 or 4. The stylish Mumbai lad can anchor an innings as well as launch a blitzkrieg right from the outset. His dismissal was a judgment error. He played the bouncer off the front foot probably expecting a length ball, it was a slower bouncer that got the better of h

Suryakumar Yadav has fired at the top in the past. Against Rising Pune Supergiant in 2016 and Delhi Daredevils in 2015. Small sample size but he’s shown that he knows how to construct an innings and set it up for the hitters lower down the order. That gives MI a combination of two hitter in Evin Lewis and Ishan Kishan and two proper batsmen in Rohit and Suryakumar in top four. So if they lose Lewis Kishan comes in and if they lose Rohit Suryakumar comes in, he should either bat at 3 or 4.

Although T20 is widely reckoned for hard-hitting and power-hitters, but the art of constructing an innings cannot be overlooked. MI have some serious firepower in Pandya brothers and Pollard, but they do need a platform to capitalise on. Someone like Suryakumar and even Ishan can lay that foundation for the explosive middle-order to fire with all cylinders.

One wouldn’t be wrong in saying that Kolkata Knight Riders didn’t make the most of Suryakumar’s potential. They had enough firepower in their top-order. KKR did give sporadic opportunities to Suryakumar higher up the order, but his failure didn’t let him cement his position.

Suryakumar exhibits extreme composure while batting and the kind of assurance he provides under the pump is remarkable. He is a good watcher of the cricket ball and doesn’t lose his shape while executing a stroke. His head position is as still as a rock, which is essential. He is tailor-made for T20s, he can improvise and take calculated risks.

Suryakumar is smart, very much aware while batting. Pollard, Hardik are power-hitters they can’t construct an innings, which Suryakumar is well capable of doing. MI have a long way to go in this tournament and it will be interesting to see how Suryakumar fares in the games to come. MI have incredible depth in their batting, and Yadav at the top could be just marvellous dressing on a well cooked recipe.