Mumbai - Mumbai Indians' Suryakumar Yadav showed glimpses of his true quality in Sunday's match against Kolkata Knight Riders, calming the nerves of India fans who may have been doubting the batting lynchpin six months out from the Cricket World Cup on home soil.
Suryakumar, the world's top-ranked T20 batter, is expected to play a key role in India's campaign at the 50-overs tournament in October-November but the runs had dried up for the 32-year-old over the last couple of months.
Known for his audacious stroke-making, Suryakumar headed into Sunday's game with four first-ball ducks in his previous six innings, including three in a row in the one-day series against Australia last month.
But he ended that slump at the Wankhede Stadium, smashing 43 runs off 25 balls in Mumbai's successful chase as the five-times Indian Premier League champions prevailed by five wickets.
"I would have loved to finish the game but nevertheless, I was very happy with the way the team played," he said.
"I took my time in the first five, seven balls and thought if I could get my eye in I could get a (good) score."
Mumbai skipper Rohit Sharma sat out of Kolkata's innings due to a stomach bug but was able to return under the 'Impact Player' rule, scoring 20 at the top of the order.
Opener Ishan Kishan top-scored for Mumbai with 58.
The Indians will be eyeing their third win in five games on Tuesday at Sunrisers Hyderabad.
(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by Peter Rutherford)