IPL 2024: SRH “Head” and shoulders above DC, register 67-run win


PTI, Apr 21, 2024, 8:20 AM IST

Credit: X / @IPL

New Delhi: Rishabh Pant’s emotional homecoming didn’t pan out into a dream script as Sunrisers Hyderabad adhered to their season’s template by out-batting Delhi Capitals in a 67-run win in an IPL match to consolidate their position in the league table here on Saturday.

It was Travis Head’s 32-ball-89 and his carnage in unison with Abhishek Sharma (46 off 12 balls) that ensured another match-winning total of 266 for 7 for SRH in their 20 overs.

A record Powerplay score of 125/0 gave SRH the base and at one point, the first-ever 300-plus total in IPL looked a distinct possibility.

In reply, Jake-Fraser McGurk’s equally aggressive and attractive 18-ball-65 raised visions of an improbable win as he added 84 runs for the third wicket along with Abhishek Porel (42 off 22 balls) in just five overs.

Once Fraser-McGurk was gone, DC went off the boil and they were all-out for 199 in 19.1 overs.

T Natarajan’s superb use of slower bouncers and figures of 4 for 19 went a long way to ensure that SRH are now second behind Rajasthan Royals (12 points) in the points table with 10 points.

Pant, himself, wasn’t in his element as he could hardly get his timing right en route a painstaking 44 off 35 balls which did more harm than good to DC’s cause.

When DC started the chase, Prithvi Shaw (16 off 5 balls) hit an out of rhythm Washington Sundar for four boundaries before a soft dismissal to set the tone for McGurk to tee off in an unbelievable fashion.

With minimal footwork, stable base and no pre-determined positioning while executing his shots, the rookie Aussie, who has been a last minute replacement, hit a 15-ball-50 but that wasn’t enough in the end as the home team slowly but surely slipped out of qualification zone.

Earlier, on a shirtfront of a track, Pant’s decision to bowl first could be debated for the longest time to come as an IPL record Powerplay score of 125 set the tone for a big total.

The Capitals were hit by a tornado named Head and cyclone called Abhishek, who added 131 in little over six overs, raising visions of IPL’s first-ever 300-run total as Head, followed up his hundred in the last match against RCB, with a scintillating 89.

He had Abhishek matching his tempo with a 46 with both the openers helping themselves to half a dozen sixes.

Khaleel Ahmed, the left-arm seamer, whose career has been dogged by inconsistency, helped Sunrisers in getting a ‘Head start’ as the short balls were summarily dispatched over deep mid-wicket for sixes with 19 coming off the first over.

On a track, where it required them to pitch it on a fuller length, Delhi pacers bowled short as Head and Abhishek would just stand deep in their crease and make merry.

More so his decision to give the second over to Lalit Yadav, whose off-breaks in Delhi cricket circuit is jokingly referred as “right-arm nothing” was even more contentious.

Head and Abhishek both sent all the bowlers on a leather-hunt. The normally brave Kuldeep Yadav (4/55 in 4 overs), started by giving the ball air but Abhishek carted him into the Kotla stands repeatedly, forcing him to adopt a flatter trajectory.

It paid dividends as he dismissed Abhishek, Aiden Markram and Head in successive overs while Axar Patel (1/29 in 4 overs) stood tall amid ruins with the best economy rate.

His dismissal of Heinrich Klaasen (15) also ensured that 30,000 viewers at the Kotla didn’t get to witness a 300-plus total.

Kuldeep had the highest number of dot balls (8) among Delhi bowlers but he also conceded the maximum numbers of ‘maximums’ –7, a rare contrasting double by a bowler in the same match.

Towards the later half, Shahbaz Ahmed (59 not out off 29 balls) also got a fifty but his innings was paled in comparison to the heavy artillery fired by Head and Abhishek upfront.

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