IPL 2024: SRH Head & shoulders above LSG as Aussie and Abhishek Sharma make mockery of chase


Synopsis: Travis Head and Abhishek Sharma unleash unprecedented carnage to upstage late heroics from Nicholas Pooran and Ayush Badoni

At the halfway mark, Lucknow Super Giants would have had some hope of defending 165, even though they knew their total was under par by some margin. It took all of 45 minutes for Travis Head and Abhishek Sharma to complete the chase with some unprecedented hitting, to provide a pointer to the direction T20 franchise batting is heading. Sunrisers Hyderabad made a mockery of the chase, accomplishing it in just 9.4 overs without losing a wicket, as KL Rahul & Co didn’t have time to realise what had hit them.

The chase, on what was considered a slow surface, started in stark contrast to the LSG innings. Though the ball was skidding on better than in the first innings, when pace was taken off, it was sticking in the pitch. However, it made no difference to the SRH approach. Unlike Rahul and Quinton de Kock, who tried to play the orthodox way, Head and Abhishek looked to send every ball into the stands, which they almost did in the Powerplay which yielded 107 runs.

This is the second time this season Sunrisers have gone past 100 in the Powerplay. There was no respite no matter what was bowled at them as everything seemed destined for the stands.

Head was the more dynamic at the crease, moving away at times or going further back inside it. One of his best shots of the night came when he went on the backfoot and clobbered Ravi Bishnoi into the stands over long-off.

On the other hand, Abhishek stood still at the crease and hit through the line, depositing balls into the stands. Head got to his half-century in 16 balls while his opening partner got there in 19.

As had been the case many times before this season, the bowling side was shell-shocked and short of ideas. The partnership not only ensured the win but also made sure SRH’s net run rate (+0.406 after the game) shot up, taking them from the mid-table jam and into third position.

Festive offer

LSG, who suffered a heavy defeat against Kolkata Knight Riders, endured more damage to their net run rate (-0.769 after Wednesday’s game).

Bhuvneshwar starts well before Badoni blitz

It was the slowest surface in Hyderabad so far this season. The ball was taking an age to reach the batsmen. As a result, the Lucknow Super Giants top order struggled to score quickly.

LSG batters hit only three sixes and one boundary in the first 10 overs, indicative of the slowness of the surface. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, after a slow start to the season, seems to have found his rhythm and looks close to his best. Despite there being minimal swing on offer, the 34-year-old bowled stump-to-stump and kept hitting the good length area.

Bhuvneshwar’s discipline, accompanied by some electric fielding in the initial overs, contributed to LSG scoring their lowest Powerplay total of the season (27/2). First, it was Nitish Kumar Reddy who took a brilliant catch on the boundary to dismiss De Kock before Sanvir Singh at mid-on dived forward to take a low catch to dismiss dangerman Marcus Stoinis.

However, young Ayush Badoni played a street-smart innings. He kept his weight on the backfoot throughout his knock, and let the ball come to him instead of trying to muscle it. With sublime wristwork, he played some cheeky shots square of the wicket to get boundaries.

Badoni found an excellent ally in Nicholas Pooran, who played his part in their 99-run partnership. Though the wicket did not have enough pace to work with, the left-hander is blessed with one of the quickest bat-swings in world cricket which can overcome the slowness of the surface and slower balls. Both combined to take LSG to 165, a score that looked beyond them after the first 10 overs of the innings and felt like a fighting total.

The Badoni-Pooran partnership put SRH pacers, other than Bhuvneshwar, to the sword. Sri Lankan leg-spinner Vijayakanth Viyashkanth made an impressive debut. With Mayank Markande falling out of favour the performance from the 22-year-old is a confidence-booster for SRH as it provides an attacking option in the middle overs as surfaces would grip as the mercury rises.

Brief scores: Lucknow Super Giants 165/4 in 20 overs (Ayush Badoni 55 not out, Nicholas Pooran 48; Bhuvneshwar Kumar 2/12) lost to Sunrisers Hyderabad 167 for no loss in 9.4 overs (Travis Head 89 not out, Abhishek Sharma 75 not out) by 10 wickets

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