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An IPL mayhem like no other - Travis Head rearrives in style

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Last updated on 27 Mar 2024 | 04:03 PM
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An IPL mayhem like no other - Travis Head rearrives in style

Playing his first IPL game since 2017, the Australian opener smashed 62 off just 24 deliveries

Sunrisers Hyderabad had the worst scoring rate (7.9) in the powerplay in the Indian Premier League 2023. They used six openers - Mayank Agarwal, Abhishek Sharma, Anmolpreet Singh, Harry Brook, Vivrant Sharma, and Rahul Tripathi - and none of them had a strike rate of more than 135 in the first six overs. SRH were clearly the worst batting side in the powerplay.

Unsurprisingly, the Orange Army finished last on the points table. They were in desperate need of a batter who could score at a rapid pace early in the innings and went ahead and bought Travis Head in the auction for INR 6.8 crore. The same Australian who dismantled India first in the World Test Championship final in June last year and then in the ODI World Cup final in Ahmedabad on November 19.

SRH, however, didn’t start with him against Kolkata Knight Riders and lost the game by four runs, with Rahul Tripathi scoring 20 off as many deliveries. That innings cost SRH the game and they had no other option but to leave the 33-year-old out of the XI against Mumbai Indians on April 27 (Wednesday). And in came TRAVIS HEAD.

Playing his first IPL game since 2017, Head came out to bat alongside Agarwal and announced his rearrival by spanking the debutant Kwena Maphaka for a boundary through the cover region. The left-hander was handed an early reprieve off Hardik Pandya’s bowling, with Tim David dropping him at mid-off. And boy, he made them pay.

Maphaka, who became the third youngest overseas debutant in the IPL, was hammered all around the park in the third over. One over long-on, the next one over deep mid-wicket, then one down the ground, followed by a ramp over short third man - Head smoked the left-arm seamer for 22 runs in the over.

Hardik and his men looked clueless against Head who finished the powerplay with nine fours and three maximums. Three consecutive fours off Hardik was followed by 4, 4, and 6 off Gerald Coetzee in the final over of the powerplay - Head raced to his fifty off just 18 deliveries. He smashed 59 off 20 in the first six overs, registering the fastest fifty for SRH, only to be broken by Abhishek Sharma (off 16 balls) a couple of overs later.

Hyderabad got 81 in the powerplay, their highest in the IPL. The 30-year-old hit boundaries all around the park - there were those ferocious pull shots, ramps, backfoot punches through cover and powerful shots down the ground. Head completely dominated the powerplay before Abhishek took over.

Head (24-ball 62) eventually fell to Coetzee in the eighth over when he mistimed an upper cut to Naman Dhir at deep point. He couldn’t carry on but a strike rate of 258.33 (third-best by an SRH batter in the IPL) laid a superb foundation for the likes of Abhishek, Aiden Markram, and Heinrich Klaasen. SRH ended up getting 148 in 10 overs, the most in IPL history.

What Head did against Mumbai was insane but not surprising. The left-hander never had a great record in T20s but it all changed in 2023, especially his strike rate. Till the end of 2022, Head had an average of 28.14 and a strike rate of 132.8 in T20s. However, since 2023, he has clobbered 407 runs in 14 innings at an average of 29.07 and a strike rate of 159.6. In this period, Head has had a strike rate of 169.15 in the first six overs.

Abhishek (23-ball 63) and Klaasen (34-ball 80*) stole the majority of the limelight at the end, with the Sunrisers posting the highest total (277/3) in IPL history and the third-highest in T20s, but it was Travis who gave them a Head-start for the mayhem.

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