Sunrisers trump Mumbai in record six-hitting carnage

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Sunrisers Hyderabad 277 for 3 (Klaasen 80*, Abhishek 63, Head 62) beat Mumbai Indians 246 for 5 (Tilak 64, David 42* Cummins 2-35, Unadkat 2-47) by 31 runs

Sixes were being hit for fun. Runs were flowing at a breakneck pace. You wouldn’t be blamed for thinking you were watching a video game. But the carnage in Hyderabad saw a 11-year old IPL record fall.

A fiery knock from Chris Gayle in 2013 had helped Royal Challengers Bengaluru to 263, a total that seemed insurmountable. But the collective show from Sunrisers Hyderabad batters on a record-breaking Wednesday saw them notch up the highest total in the 16-year history of the IPL – 277 for 3. Mumbai Indians almost paid them back with the same coin, their batters coming out attacking with a nothing-to-lose attitude. Eventually, they lost steam and finished at 246 for 5, the fifth-highest total in a losing cause.

Travis Head struck an 18-ball half-century, the fastest for Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL. Moments later, Abhishek Sharma slammed a 16-ball fifty to snatch the record. An hour later, Heinrich Klaasen cut loose to seemingly bat Mumbai out of the contest. But to their credit, Mumbai kept up with the asking rate for most part of the chase and fell short by only 31.

Never were more runs scored in a men’s T20 match (523). Never were most sixes hit in a men’s T20 (38). At the end of the close to four-hour six-fest, only two bowlers returned with an economy rate of under ten an over.

The perfect Head-start

Head, in for Marco Jansen, continued from where he left off in his previous tour of India. He was off the mark with a four off IPL debutant Kwena Maphaka, the 17-year-old who played for South Africa at the Under-19 World Cup earlier this year. Head motored along like a car that had only one gear – the highest. He was given a life when Tim David dropped him at mid-off off Hardik Pandya’s first ball. But there was no looking back.

He smacked two fours and two sixes in a 22-run Maphaka over before hitting two fours and a six off Gerald Coetzee over that went for 23 to end the powerplay. Head had scored 59 off the 81 SRH made in the first six overs. In his next over, though, Coetzee bowled a short and wide one – the widest Mumbai bowlers bowled to Head in the evening – which the batter only carved to deep backward point.

Abhishek shows his mettle

Head’s inclusion in the XI meant Abhishek had to move down the order, and he walked in at No.3 after Mayank Agarwal fell in the fifth over. He got going with a pull off Coetzee and then meted out a special treatment to Piyush Chawla, hitting him for three sixes in an over. That helped Sunrisers notch up their 100 in just seven overs, their second-fastest in the IPL.

Abhishek also tore into Maphaka’s third over, hitting him for a sequence of four, six, six and four to complete his fifty and snatch the record from Head. The key was in how early in picked the length of the bowlers and went all-out. He hit seven sixes in his 23-ball stay for 63 before heaving a half-tracker that Chawla fired in seam-up at 112.8kph straight to deep midwicket.

Klaasen and Markram add the finishing touches

With nine overs to go and two right-handers in the middle, Hardik Pandya sensed an opportunity to get in left-arm spinner Shams Mulani in the game. That played into the hands of Klaasen, who is a spin-basher. In T20s since January 2022, no batter who has faced at least 500 balls had a higher strike rate that Klaasen’s 174.38 before the start of the game.

True to the trait, he smacked Mulani over long-off to get his boundary-count going. He then hit a six each of Hardik and Jasprit Bumrah as Sunrisers crossed 200 in the 15th over. Aiden Markram at the other end had hit a six and a four but was happy to give strike to his South Africa team-mate. Klaasen brought up his fifty off 22 balls, which was only the third quickest on the night.

Klaasen hit two successive sixes in the last over bowled by Mulani to break RCB’s record. Sunrisers added 63 in the last four overs to post the third-highest total in all men’s T20s.

Mumbai lose the fizz

Rohit Sharma and Ishan Kishan kicked off Mumbai’s reply in fine fashion. Rohit muscled Bhuvneshwar Kumar down the ground before hitting Jaydev Unadkat – brought in for T Natarajan who had a niggle – for back-to-back sixes. Kishan then took 23 of Bhuvneshwar’s second over, hitting him for a four and three sixes. Kishan then slogged Shahbaz Ahmed to deep midwicket but Rohit kept going.

He whipped Pat Cummins’ second ball over midwicket before miscuing a pull to fall for 26 off just 12. Only twice in the IPL has Rohit scored more – 37 in April 2015 vs RCB and 27 in May 2015 vs CSK – in the first 12 balls he faced.

Naman Dhir and Tilak Varma then kept Mumbai abreast of the required rate. They found boundaries regularly with Tilak leading the charge, and added 84 off 37 for the third wicket. But once they fell within 21 balls of each other, Mumbai never found the momentum. David managed to hit a few into the stands, but it was too late.

S Sudarshanan is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @Sudarshanan7

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