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IPL-2024: Sunrisers Hyderabad, who are shaking their opponents: same series with Delhi Capitals… win by 67 runs

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In IPL cricket, Sunrisers Hyderabad defeated the Delhi Capitals by 67 runs at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in Delhi last night. Chasing a victory target of 267 runs, Delhi were all out for 199 runs in 19.1 overs. Jake Fraser-McGurk contributed a brilliant 65 runs off 18 balls for Delhi.

Earlier, Sunrisers Hyderabad scored 266/7 in the stipulated 20 overs. Openers Travis Head and Abhishek Sharma led Hyderabad to the highest-ever powerplay total in T20 history, amassing 125 runs in the first six overs. Head scored 89 off just 32 balls, while Abhishek Sharma made 46 off just 12 balls. Travis Head was declared Player of the Match.

Travis Head and Abhishek Sharma were protagonists in a record-breaking PowerPlay performance as Sunrisers Hyderabad breached the 250-run mark for the third time this season, making most of the benevolent batting conditions that Delhi threw up in its first game of IPL 2024. The pair put on a 131-run stand in just 6.2 overs before a half-century lower down the order from Shahbaz Ahmed powered SRH to 266/7. Delhi Capitals threatened to run them close with Jake Fraser-McGurk scoring the season’s fastest fifty in his 18-ball 65 but T Natarajan’s career-best figures of 4 for 19 put paid to any such hopes and helped SRH climb to second in the standings with a NRR boost to boot.

Rishabh Pant won the toss and subjected his bowlers to SRH’s power play first up on a featherbed of a batting surface. As first balls go, there was no indication of what was to come. Khaleel Ahmed bowled one outside Head’s swinging arc and produced a dot. The Australian launched the next ball for six and then smashed two fours either side of the wicket. 19 runs came off the first over and as it turned out, it was the most economical over of the PowerPlay. It didn’t matter where the bowlers bowled as Head and Abhishek swung for the fences and cleared them as many as 11 times in 36 attempts.

Head, following on from a century at the Chinnaswamy Stadium, raced away to 84 off 26, just three short of Suresh Raina’s record of PowerPlay runs scored by a batter in the IPL. He also scored, what was at that time, the joint-fastest half-century – 16 balls – of IPL 2024. The player whose record he equalled was at the other end, somewhat starved for strike.

Abhishek faced only 10 balls in this phase but dwarfed his partner for strike-rate (400 to 323.08!) by smashing seven of those for boundaries (2 fours, 5 sixes) to bullet away to 40. The pair brought the team’s 50 in 2.4 overs, 100 in just 5 overs and at the end of six overs, the scoreboard read a staggering 125/0 – a T20 record.

Less than a week ago, SRH had stretched the ceiling for T20 scores by making 287 at the Chinnaswamy Stadium. Just as Head and Abhishek raised the possibility of SRH breaking their own record for a second time this season, Abhishek fell for a 12-ball 46. He drove a full Kuldeep Yadav delivery straight to Axar Patel. Had the shot found its way to the boundary, Abhishek would have matched his mentor Yuvraj Singh for the joint-fastest T20 half-century by an Indian. His dismissal, however, ended a staggering 131-run association for the first wicket and paved a tiny opening for Delhi’s bowlers.

The spinners, Kuldeep and Axar, then did well to bring a semblance of normalcy to the proceedings. Kuldeep added a second wicket in the seventh over by getting Aiden Markram to mishit a googly to cover and Axar followed that with the first boundary-less over of the innings. Heinrich Klaasen walked in and hit Kuldeep for a pair of sixes in the ninth over but the wrist spinner finished the over by getting Head to hole out at long-on. The Australian fell for a 32-ball 89, scoring ‘just’ five off the last five balls he faced after having threatened Chris Gayle’s 30-ball record for the fastest T20 hundred.

When Axar dismissed Klaasen with the first ball of the 10th over, SRH had lost 4 for 23 after their record-shattering start. Axar was particularly excellent with his variations in speed and use of crease and his spell understandably forced a relatively quieter middle overs, saving DC the blushes of more batting records stacked against them.

For contrast, the first-five overs of the innings saw 103 runs scored. The next 11 brought only 107. But SRH were still well set for an overpowered total with Nitish Reddy and Shahbaz Ahmed adding a half-century stand. Nitish made 37 off 27 before Kuldeep ended the 67-run partnership with his fourth wicket of the innings. Shahbaz then launched Khaleel for a pair of sixes in the 19th over with Abdul Samad adding a third to take the total to 250. Shahbaz then finished off the innings with a four and a six off Mukesh to finish with a 29-ball 59* – his maiden half-century in the IPL – and drove SRH to the fourth-highest score in IPL history.

22-year-old Jake Fraser-McGurk had already showed in his IPL debut against LSG that he was unfazed by the stage. He was also unfazed standing at the base of a mountain of runs. In fact, it seemed to liberate him and he underscored his burgeoning reputation with a 15-ball half-century – the fastest of the season. The highlight of his innings was a 30-run takedown of Washington Sundar in the third over of the chase.

Fraser-McGurk hit three-fours and as many sixes, all through the arc between long-off and deep point. Sundar’s attempted length and pace variations didn’t work and he was at the receiving end of a very highly-skilled hitter. The Australian proved he was good against both spin and pace, taking down his compatriot Pat Cummins for a four and a six in the two balls he faced to motor away to 46 off 13.

Unfortunately for the Capitals, Fraser-McGurk faced only four more deliveries in the innings. Three of those he hit for six before legspinner Mayank Markande dismissed him for an 18-ball 65 (7 sixes) with a floated up wide delivery that yanked the batter out of shape while attempting an encore. But at the end of seven overs, DC were 109 for 3, scoring at 15.57 when the asking rate at the start of the innings was 13.35.

In a game that saw 213 PowerPlay runs scored, Natarajan gave away just seven runs in the one over he bowled under the fielding restrictions. Varying his lengths and unafraid to bowl the yorker, Natarajan’s second and third overs went for just 5 and 7 runs respectively and he rounded off a terrific bowling display with a double-wicket maiden. Three of Natarajan’s wickets (4 for 19) came via the yorker while the fourth was a low full toss.

As impressive as Natarajan was, Delhi’s chase petered out after a sparkling start with Rishabh Pant struggling for his timing with the ball beginning to stop a touch in the second innings. Pant was 21 off 25 at one stage. He recovered to make 44 off 35 and was the last man out but the game was done long before that.

Brief scores: Sunrisers Hyderabad 266/7 in 20 overs (Travis Head 89, Shahbaz Ahmed 59*, Abhishek Sharma 46; Kuldeep Yadav 4-55) beat Delhi Capitals 199 all out in 19.1 overs (Jake Fraser-McGurk 65, Rishabh Pant 44; T. Natarjan 4-19) by 67 runs

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