IPL 2024: Travis Head, Shahbaz Ahmed & Abhishek Sharma fireworks propel SRH to gigantic 266/7

New Delhi: Travis Head and Abhishek Sharma brought an out-of-the-world hurricane of ultra-aggressive batting by smashing 24 boundaries in their 131-run opening stand off just 38 balls to rattle Delhi Capitals as Sunrisers Hyderabad smashed a gigantic 266/7 in the first match of IPL 2024 at the Arun Jaitley Stadium on Saturday.

On a placid pitch, Head (82 off 39 balls) and Abhishek (46 off 12 balls) left everyone in the stands breathless and speechless with their flurry of impeccable strokeplay and establishing multiple records for fun to help SRH make 125-0 in power-play, thus setting a new record for the highest power-play score in T20 cricket, including in the IPL.

After being hammered in power-play, Kuldeep Yadav (4-55) and Axar Patel (1-29) helped DC come back in the match as SRH went from 131/0 to 151/4. Handy contributions from Shabhaz Ahmed (59 not out off 29 balls) and Nitish Kumar Reddy (37 off 27 balls) ensured SRH posted a massive total yet again, while hitting 22 sixes and equalling their own record of most sixes hit in an IPL match.

Pushed into batting first, Head’s onslaught began by smashing Khaleel Ahmed for a six and two fours, before Abhishek clipped one for another boundary in a 19-run opening over. Head then pulled Lalit Yadav for back-to-back backfoot sixes, before cutting hard and being helped by a misfield from Anrich Nortje to get a four, with Abhishek lofting inside-out for another boundary as 21 runs came off the second over.

Nortje was next to come in firing line, as Head hit him cleanly for four boundaries, before getting his fifty in just 16 balls, by whipping over deep mid-wicket for six, as 22 runs came off third over. It was also the third time Head reached half-century in power-play of IPL 2024, also the joint-fastest fifty by an SRH batter in IPL.

Abhishek pulled and smacked Lalit for two sixes, before Head slapped him down the ground for third six of the fourth over. Abhishek greeted Kuldeep with loft and pull to hit a brace of sixes, before ending the over by dancing down the pitch to hit another maximum, as SRH crossed 100 in just five overs, also the fastest century by a team in T20s.

Head smacked Mukesh Kumar four straight boundaries, before ending the powerplay with a loft over long-off for six as SRH made 125/0, setting new record for highest-ever score in power-play of T20s. The carnage seemed to have no stopping once Abhishek lofted Kuldeep on the first ball post power-play.

But after that, the script flipped in favour of DC. Abhishek went for a drive off Kuldeep, but couldn’t keep it down and Axar made a dive at extra cover to take a sharp catch. One brought two for Kuldeep as Aiden Markram hit straight to Axar again.

Despite Klaasen smacking him for two sixes down the ground and over long-on, Kuldeep bounced back by having Head, who didn’t get much strike after power-play, heave to a running long-on, and dismiss him for 89 off 32 balls. Axar further pulled DC back in the match by castling Klaasen.

Nitish dazzled with a picture-perfect cover-drive off Khaleel and collectively hit four more pleasing boundaries with Shahbaz as SRH crossed 200 in 14.5 overs. Reddy would again dazzle with a reverse-scoop off Kuldeep for six, before holing out to long-on, giving the spinner incredible figures of 4-55.

Shahbaz swung cleanly to hit Khaleel for back-to-back sixes, while Samad also took a maximum off him as 20 runs came off the 19th over for SRH to raise their 250 for the third time in this season. Shahbaz then hit a four and six on last two balls of the innings to get his maiden IPL fifty, as SRH’s batting carnage finally ended.

Brief Scores: Sunrisers Hyderabad 266/7 in 20 overs (Travis Head 89, Shahbaz Ahmed 59 not out; Kuldeep Yadav 4-55, Axar Patel 1-29) against Delhi Capitals


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