IPL 2024: Explosive Sunrisers Hyderabad set a red-hot template | Crickit
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IPL 2024: Explosive Sunrisers Hyderabad set a red-hot template

By, Mumbai
Apr 16, 2024 07:31 PM IST

SRH, with their belligerence, are offering a glimpse of what the default approach by teams batting first could be in the future

It happened in the one-day format when Eoin Morgan and Co, in the lead-up to England’s successful 2019 ODI World Cup, showed us that 400 totals were achievable on a consistent basis. Over the past couple of years, Ben Stokes’ England have also tried to normalise an all-guns-blazing batting approach in Test cricket. So, it was only a matter of time before the shortest format of the game saw a revolution too. And in this Indian Premier League, Sunrisers Hyderabad have pushed the envelope in terms of T20 batting.

Sunrisers Hyderabad's Travis Head celebrates his century during the match against Royal Challengers Bengaluru in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024, at M.Chinnaswamy Stadium (IPL)
Sunrisers Hyderabad's Travis Head celebrates his century during the match against Royal Challengers Bengaluru in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024, at M.Chinnaswamy Stadium (IPL)

Before IPL 2024 began, Royal Challengers Bengaluru’s 263 against Pune Warriors in 2013 was the highest total. Since they set the mark, only one team had crossed 250 – Lucknow Supergiants made 257/5 against Punjab Kings last year.

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But over the past month, 260 has been breached four times. It is SRH who are leading the way, redefining what’s possible to achieve as a batting unit.

It began with their match against Mumbai Indians, when SRH slammed a record-breaking 277/3. A week later, Kolkata Knight Riders got 272/7 against Delhi Capitals. On Monday, SRH bettered their IPL record by posting 287/3. RCB went all out and replied with 262/7.

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In what was another extraordinary exhibition of power-hitting, SRH never took their foot off the pedal against RCB. After openers Travis Head (102 off 41 balls) and Abhishek Sharma brought up the 100-run stand in just 7.1 overs, the 2016 champions promoted Heinrich Klaasen, arguably the most devastating batter in world cricket at the moment, to ensure the momentum didn’t drop. Aiden Markram and Abdul Samad then batted in the same vein in the death overs. The result was a new benchmark for batting units in IPL.

“It was proper batting,” said Head, who hit a 39-ball century – fourth fastest in IPL. “We wanted to take the game on, maximise the powerplay and then keep going. We’ve got some power through the middle and wanted to just keep putting the foot down as much as we could. Pat (skipper Cummins) and Dan (coach Vettori) put pressure on the batting line-up to make sure we kept going.”

What works well for SRH is that they have batters who have a similar approach. Be it Head, Abhishek, Klaasen, Markram or Samad, they’re all ultra-aggressive and search for multiple boundaries each over. The icing on the cake is the clarity provided by the team management, which gives them the confidence to keep going for their shots no matter the game situation. They ended up hitting a staggering 22 sixes against RCB – most in an IPL innings.

“Everyone is in good form,” said the Australian opener. “But you’ve seen the way the team has been set up; there have been some changes since the first game to try to mirror up who’s in the best form and who can maximise it for us. We spoke about it in our team meeting today, each guy has had his moment in the tournament. We’re all complementing each other really, really well.”

While small grounds and fast outfields continue to tilt the scales in favour of batters, there’s no doubt the Impact Player rule has also made life a lot harder for bowlers. It has given teams that extra cushion while batting and allowed SRH to enforce a relentless approach.

“With the Impact Player rule, you’ve got power even at No.7 and 8,” said Head. “So, you can bat longer, just keep going, take more risks, and push the boundaries a little bit more. We’ve tried to use the rule to try and maximise the power we’ve got and put pressure on their bowling groups.”

After the RCB game, Cummins threw down the challenge to the rivals. "I will keep saying, you will hear from us all the time – that's how we want to play. It's not going to work every game but I can tell you, everyone's terrified when they come up against us and we're going to blow some teams out of the water before they have even walked out on the field."

So far this season, SRH have had the joint highest scoring rate (11.00) in powerplay, and the second highest (12.53) at the death. More importantly though, they have by far the highest run rate (9.79) between overs 7 and 15. Often, we see teams slowing down after a strong start, but SRH have shown that the process of consolidating after powerplay can be done away with. With required rates of around 15 being achieved consistently in the final overs, it seems no total is safe. SRH, with their belligerence, are offering a glimpse of what the default approach by teams batting first could be going forward.

It remains to be seen how they adapt as the pitches become slower into the summer. But as Head suggested, it won’t be a surprise if SRH get to the 300-mark first.

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