Head, Klaasen play decisive hands in Chinnaswamy big bash

Suryakumar Yadav gets the ramp going in the nets
Head, Klaasen play decisive hands in Chinnaswamy big bash

Sunrisers Hyderabad 287 for 3 (Head 102, Klaasen 67, Ferguson 2-52) beat Royal Challengers Bangalore 262 for 7 (Karthik 83, du Plessis 62, Cummins 3-43) by 25 runs

Sunrisers Hyderabad showed how merciless modern T20 batting can look, obliterating the record they had themselves set earlier this season to post 287 for 3, the highest total in the IPL.

Travis Head, who has won Australia the World Test Championship and the ODI World Cup final over the last year, sent another warning signal for his opponents ahead of the T20 World Cup. He had scored a 24-ball 62 when Sunrisers made 277 for 3 against Mumbai on March 27; now he belted a career-best 102 off 41 against Royal Challengers Bengaluru.

The big hits were incessant. Head hit eight sixes, and Heinrich Klaasen seven in a 31-ball 67, out of a Sunrisers total of 22 – another IPL record. RCB did their bit too, on a dream day for batters, sending 16 hits soaring over the M Chinnaswamy Stadium’s boundaries as they made a superb effort to restrict the damage to their net run rate. They finished on 262 for 7, Dinesh Karthik leading the way with 83 off 35 balls.

The match aggregate of 549 runs was the highest in all T20 cricket.

Head breaks RCB’s hearts

RCB went into the match without a single frontline spinner. But with two left-handers in Head and Abhishek Sharma opening for Sunrisers, they began with the offspin of batting allrounder Will Jacks. He found turn in the first over, and conceded just seven. His second over was even better, going for just four.

And yet, Sunrisers put up 76 in the powerplay, the third time they had gone past 70 during that phase of the innings this season. By then, Head had motored to his half-century off 20 balls. Head hit four sixes across the fifth and sixth overs as RCB debutant Lockie Ferguson went for 18 and then Yash Dayal for 20.

Head’s second fifty was even quicker, taking only 19 balls, and the century came up in the 12th over. Ferguson had Head ballooning a catch to mid-off halfway into the 13th, but Klaasen had arrived by then, and SRH already had 165 on the board. That was enough indication of what more was to come on a flat pitch surrounded by small boundaries.

Klaasen continues six fest

Promoted to No. 3 after the openers hammered 108 in 8.1 overs, Klaasen kept Sunrisers’ party going. He managed only three runs from his first five deliveries, but soon got into the six-hitting groove that has made him among the world’s most dangerous T20 hitters. He swung Dayal and Ferguson for sixes over midwicket just before Head was dismissed, and that wicket did nothing to temper Klaasen’s aggression.

With Head’s dismissal bringing a second right-hander to the crease in Aiden Markram, RCB brought on the left-arm spin of Mahipal Lomror in the 14th over. The match-up didn’t bring any joy, as Klaasen carted him for two sixes.

Klaasen hit three more sixes – including a 106m straight hit off Ferguson that sailed over the roof – before being dismissed with three overs remaining, with Sunrisers on 231. The only question then was if they could breach their own record total of 277. Abdul Samad and Markram put all doubts away with stunning cameos, as the last two overs produced 46 runs.

Karthik fights to limit the damage

There was only one way for RCB to bat in their response, and Virat Kohli and Faf du Plessis counterattacked their way to 79 in the powerplay, three more than what Sunrisers had managed at that stage. RCB’s opening pair smashed 11 fours and four sixes in that phase alone. Even so, RCB were behind the asking rate, which had now climbed to nearly 15.

Sunrisers’ Impact Sub Mayank Markande, who replaced Head at the start of the chase, beat Kohli with a googly just after the powerplay, and that began something of a mini-collapse, as RCB slipped to 122 for 5 by the end of the 10th over, with Pat Cummins striking twice including getting du Plessis for 62.

That is when Karthik entered to keep the crowd entertained. He was the dominant partner in a 59-run partnership with Lomror, which briefly stirred hopes of an outlandish finish, as Markande and Jaydev Unadkat leaked 46 across the 13th and 14th overs.

A six-run 15th over from Cummins, which also included the wicket of Lomror, effectively ended RCB’s hopes, but Karthik kept going, hitting at least one six ever over until he was dismissed with eight balls remaining. Seven sixes came off his bat including a switch-hit off Bhuvneshwar Kumar, but he couldn’t prevent RCB from slumping to a fifth successive loss and remaining rooted to the bottom of the points table.

Himanshu Agrawal is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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