Home » ‘Utterly absurd’ Head sends ominous World Cup message

‘Utterly absurd’ Head sends ominous World Cup message

By Damien McCartney and AP

Travis Head has given a huge glimpse into his game plan for next month’s T20 World Cup in a statement innings for Sunrisers Hyderabad against a luckless Lucknow in the IPL.

Head smacked a player of the match-winning 89 off just 30 balls – including a 16-ball half-century – as the Sunrisers cruised to a 10-wicket win, chasing down the target of 166 inside 10 overs.

His opening partner down the other end, Indian prodigy Abhishek Sharma smashed 75 off just 28 balls. Together, they hit 16 boundaries and 14 sixes. The innings set a new IPL record for a score inside 10 overs.

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“That was a lot of fun,” Head said in the post-match presentation.

“I was just concentrating on trying to get into good positions, watch the ball hard and react to it. Once I got a flow on in the first couple of overs and got ahead of the rate a little bit, it felt like it was a great opportunity in the powerplay to try and maximise that.”

Head shocked commentators when he belted spinner Ravi Bishnoi for six over cover off the back foot. He said it was something he had been working on in the nets in preparation for the World Cup.

“It’s something I’ve been working on with spin, they came with off-spin again today, so something I’ve been working hard with and I feel like it’s going to be a big part … of the World Cup,” Head said.

“It was nice to be able to go 360 (degrees) tonight and get it into some parts of the ground that I don’t normally get it to.”

Renowned commentator and analyst Harsha Bhogle said Head batted like a “big boss” and put it to him that he doesn’t know the meaning of the word fear.

“The last 12 months, being back in the Australian team, that’s how they’ve wanted me to play. Having Dan (Vettori, Australia assistant coach and Sunrisers head coach) and Pat (Cummins), they’ve expressed they want me to go about it the same way.

“So for me it’s not trying to change anything, and to maximise the powerplay. It’s not going to work all the time, but as long as I can be consistent in giving myself the best opportunity, hopefully I can do the part for the team.”

The innings saw him eclipse David Warner’s decade-old record for most runs for Sunrisers in a debut season at the club.

Even Lucknow captain KL Rahul was stunned.

“I’m lost for words. We’ve watched that batting on TV – but that was unreal. Everything was hitting the middle of the bat, kudos to their skill.”

Head reached his fifty from just 16 balls. Sharma followed not long after when he reached his 50 off only 19 balls as they raced to century-stand inside the batting power play.

The win lifted Hyderabad to third on the ladder with 14 points with two matches to play, both at home. It also gave their net run-rate a healthy lift. The huge defeat has pushed Lucknow into a tight corner for the playoffs with 12 points from 12 games.

Earlier, Ayush Badoni (55) and Nicholas Pooran (48) propelled Lucknow to 4-165 with a 99-run unbeaten fifth-wicket stand after Bhuvneshwar Kumar (2-12) gave away just 12 singles and dismissed the big hitters — Quinton de Kock (2) and Marcus Stoinis (3) — inside the power play.

Head and Sharma charged against pace and spin as Yash Thakur was smashed for 47 off his 16 balls while spinners Ravi Bishnoi and Krishnappa Gowtham gave away 63 runs off their four overs.

Lucknow had a moment to separate the destructive pair but Thakur couldn’t hold onto a sharp one-handed catch of Sharma at short third-man when the batter was on 18 in the third over. Sharma had another escape after completing his half-century when leg-spinner Bishnoi dropped a hard two-handed return catch.

Earlier, Kumar had buckled down Lucknow 27-2 in the first six overs on a tacky wicket and Rahul struggled to give the innings momentum before pulled skipper Pat Cummins to deep backward square leg and got dismissed for struggling 29 off 33 balls.

Pooran and Badoni countercharged in the death overs with Badoni playing some orthodox shots on square of the wicket as pace duo of Natarajan and Cummins conceded 34 runs off the final two overs.