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277 and 287: What is Sunrisers Hyderabad’s mantra at IPL 2024? Travis Head explains their stunning totals

SRH opener says their team’s philosophy is to make full use of the first six overs and ‘understand that it’s not going to work always’.

Few bowling units would not dread a line-up that wields the destructive capabilities of Travis Head, Abhishek Sharma, Aiden Markram and Heinrich Klaasen. After racking up two scores in excess of 250 in the tournament so far — with the two highest totals in Indian Premier League history — there is a bubbling buzz around them.

Openers Head and Abhishek have scored 235 and 211 runs at intimidating strike rates of 199 and 197 respectively. Klaasen, who came out to bat at No.3 in the last match, is striking at 199. Then there is Markran, who can change the tempo any time.

Will they reach the 300-run mark in the tournament?

If one believes the words of Sunrisers captain Pat Cummins, they are looking to do that. In his dressing room speech post their win against Royal Challengers Bengaluru (RCB) Cummins made it clear that he wants to instill fear in opposition bowlers’ minds with their aggressive strokeplay.

“It’s not going to work every game. But I can tell you, everyone’s terrified of when they come up against us and we have got to blow some teams out of the water before they have even walked out on the field.”

Sunrisers’ approach has been to go on an all-out attack against all opponents. In this tournament, the 250-run mark has been breached four times, Sunrisers doing so twice.

Head says the mantra of their team is to adapt to conditions quickly and maximise the Powerplay.

“Here at the Sunrisers, the aim has been to take control of the Powerplay. Myself and Abhi (Abhishek) and Klaas (Klaasen) are able to do that,” Head said during a select media interaction on Friday.

The Australian opener, who has had a great 18 months for his country, said captain Cummins and the coaching staff are completely backing this fearless approach and even their Plan B is to keep the scoreboard moving with a good strike rate as it gives their team “more good days than bad.”

“Our Plan B probably came out against Punjab Kings, where it didn’t quite go to plan,” Head referred to the match where they lost three wickets inside the Powerplay.

“It was probably the worst we’ve played this tournament and we found a way to get to 185 (182) by keeping that positive approach and keeping the runs moving. Yes, we’re going to lose wickets. Our aim is to set a target and defend it . We’re aggressive but we still sum up the conditions and understand that it’s not going to work always. But it’s working so far.

“There’s going to be a game where it may not come off and we’ve seen that against the Kings in the first half, but Nitish (Reddy) played an exceptional knock to get us to where we needed. Also to understand that yeah, it’s okay if it doesn’t work and we got to keep the belief and keep moving and hopefully we’ll have more good days than bad.”

On balancing between formats

Head says for him Test cricket is the ultimate format but he tries to balance it as per the World Cups.

“I still feel like Test cricket will be the ultimate one for most countries. Obviously there’s some situational stuff with some different countries with opportunity in terms of how many Test matches they play compared to others. But I think Test cricket is ultimate,” he said.

“I feel you’ve to prioritise the formats. This year, there is a T20 World Cup, so my focus is to play more T20 cricket. There’s a T20 World Cup coming up, so everyone will be eager to play T20 cricket and then it’ll flip the cycle again. And we have a Champions Trophy next year and then another one-day World Cup. So everyone’s mind will start turning to one-day. I am someone who wants to play three formats, just got a taste of that. I’m very new to it all and it is tough. We don’t see many guys do it for long periods of time. So some things may need to give in and one may end up missing a series here or there but ultimately, I think you want to be playing Test cricket as much as you can and take the white-ball formats as per the World Cups,” the left-hander said.

Eight scores above 220. Four above 250.

SRH – 287/3, 277/3
KKR – 272/7, 223/6
RCB – 262/7
MI – 246/5, 234/5
RR – 224/8

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