Head hundred, bowlers’ resolve power SRH to 25-run win over RCB


PTI, Apr 16, 2024, 8:00 AM IST

Credit: X / @IPL

Bengaluru: Travis Head’s destructive hundred fused splendidly with skipper Pat Cummins’ resolve as Sunrisers Hyderabad registered a well-crafted 25-run victory over Royal Challengers Bengaluru in a high-scoring affair here on Monday.

Head’s maiden T20 hundred (102, 41b, 9×4, 8×6) and Heinrich Klaasen’s pillaging 67 (31b, 2×4, 7×6) drove Sunrisers to a record-breaking 287 for three, also going past their own 277/3 against Mumbai Indians at Hyderabad this March 27.

The visiting bowlers led by Cummins (3/43) showed superb skill level on a barren pitch, something their counterparts lacked, to restrict RCB to 262 for seven. This IPL match also witnessed the highest cumulative runs scored –549 in any single T20 match.

Skipper Faf du Plessis (62, 28b, 7×4, 4×6) and the super-improvising Dinesh Karthik (83, 35b, 5×4, 7×6) played fine hands but on the night they ended as mere footnotes.

However, RCB began their chase of 288 with gusto with Du Plessis and Virat Kohli (42, 20b, 6×4, 2×6) making 50 in just 3.5 overs, bettering SRH’s timing for their 50 in 4.3 overs.

The Faf-Kohli pair reached 79 in the Power Play overs and 80 in 6.2 overs but the introduction of leg-spinner Mayank Markande changed the complexion of the game.

Kohli’s attempt to slog sweep Markande saw the ball sneaking under his bat to rattle the stumps. From that point, the Royal Challengers lost four wickets in the span of 41 runs to slip to 121 for four that also saw a steep climb in the asking rate.

The fourth wicket to fall during that phase was that of Du Plessis. The South African batter smashed Cummins for a four and six in successive balls but feathered a well-directed slower bouncer to Klaasen behind the stumps.

In the same over, the Aussie pacer also trapped Saurav Chauhan in front of the wicket for a naught. Karthik and Mahipal Lomror (19), who together punished Markande for 25 runs in his last over, milked 59 runs off 29 balls for the sixth wicket, and the former also made 63 for the seventh wicket with Anuj Rawat as RCB moved along briskly.

But in the end, it was sufficient only to provide some artificial excitement to the full house. Earlier, Head’s destructive hundred was the driving force behind Hyderabad’s imposing total.

The South Australian added 108 runs off 49 balls with his opening partner Abhishek Sharma (34, 22b) and 57 off 26 balls with Klaasen for the second wicket as the hosts’ bowlers wilted under sustained firing.

Head’s batting does not carry the traditional elegance of a left-hander but he more than compensates it with effectiveness.

His innings at the Chinnaswamy Stadium was a telltale example of the simple principles he follows in batting — anything in his hitting arc will disappear far and wide.

The 30-year-old displayed that chilling efficiency against RCB pacers Reece Topley and debutant Lockie Ferguson, who walked in for out-of-form of Glenn Maxwell.

But Ferguson’s first over was an eminently forgettable one, conceding 18 runs. The Kiwi pacer slanted one to Head’s pads and it was flicked over square leg for a six.

Ferguson tried for course correction in the next ball, going a wee bit short. But Head was up for the challenge, hoisting the ball over mid-on for a massive maximum.

In between, Abhishek, who also played a couple of fine shots, fell to Topley, an uppish flick snaffled by Ferguson at square leg.

But that brought together Head and Klaasen together as RCB were put under the cosh further by SRH’s second-wicket pair.

Head soon fetched his hundred with a brutally-driven boundary off pacer Vysakh Vijayakumar. However, he perished soon as a mistimed slice off Ferguson was taken by Du Plessis at mid-off.

But the dismissal did not slow down Hyderabad as Klaasen assumed the role of battering ram, bringing up his fifty in just 23 balls.

As is his wont, the South African was severe on spinners and clobbered the part-time left-arm spin of Mahipal Lomror for 18 runs in his only over.

SRH soon went past their own record score of 277 despite Klaasen getting dismissed by Ferguson.

The landmark moment came when Aiden Markram (32, 17b) took a single off Vysakh to long-off.

Markram also added 56 runs for the unbroken fourth wicket alliance with Abdul Samad (37, 10b, 4×4, 3×6) as Hyderabad also smoked 22 sixes, the highest in an IPL innings.

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