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Jake Fraser-McGurk stakes claim for place in Australia’s T20 World Cup squad with IPL blitz
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Jake Fraser-McGurk stakes claim for place in Australia’s T20 World Cup squad with IPL blitz

Jake Fraser-McGurk has made an irresistible demand for a place in Australia’s T20 World Cup squad with his latest staggering demonstration of batting pyrotechnics in the IPL. The Delhi Capitals opener pulverised the Mumbai Indians attack to the tune of 84 off just 27 balls at Delhi’s home Arun Jaitley Stadium on Saturday, including a half-century off 15 deliveries, the joint-fourth fastest ever in the Indian Premier League.

The 22-year-old’s knock propelled Delhi – again without David Warner who is still nursing an injured finger – to a massive 257-4, with Mumbai then falling short by 10 runs on 247-9 despite Tim David’s late blast with 37 from 17 balls.

Fraser-McGurk is yet to make his T20 international debut but has played two ODIs for Australia. Watching from the commentary box, former Australia captain Michael Clarke could only enthuse: “The selectors have to be thinking about him now, with the team just a few days away from being selected. It’s hard to leave him out to be honest, the way he’s played so far.”

“I imagine conditions will be pretty similar in the Caribbean, slower wickets with that extra power in the power play needed,” Clarke said. “He’s done his chances no harm and I’d love to see him in that squad of 15.”

It was breath-taking batting from the start as Fraser-McGurk cracked left-armer Luke Wood for four, four and six off his first three balls. The Box Hill blaster then had the temerity to smash Jasprit Bumrah around the park for the pacer’s worst IPL over this season, going for 18.

Fraser-McGurk went on to hit 11 fours and six sixes in his dazzling knock, recording the highest of his three half-centuries compiled in just five matches since coach Ricky Pointing decided to gamble on putting him in a struggling team. With Warner and Mitch Marsh injured, Fraser-McGurk has stepped in for 247 runs at an extraordinary strike-rate of 237.50.

“He’s got 22 sixes and 220 of those 247 runs have been in boundaries – that’s crazy, T20 batting at a new level,” former Indian Test star Sanjay Manjrekar said.

Fraser-McGurk, who had even looked on course to beat Chris Gayle’s IPL record of a 30-ball century until he holed out with one heave-ho too many, just took all the plaudits – not to mention the ‘JFM’ face masks in the crowd – with a pinch of salt.

“That’s my role,” Fraser-McGurk said with a shrug after smashing 78 off the six-over powerplay alone. “Go out and score as many in the first six as I can and if I go on with it, I go on with it.”

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“Not at all,” he smiled when asked if he was a player who might nudge the odd single. “If I get ones or twos, then it’s probably the last ball of the over – or I mishit it.”

In the day’s other match in Lucknow, Marcus Stoinis, fresh from his brilliant match-winning 124 not out against Chennai, was bowled for a four-ball duck by Sandeep Sharma as his Justin Langer-coached Super Giants were beaten by seven wickets by table-topping Rajasthan Royals.

After captain KL Rahul had led the way for Lucknow with a 48-ball 76 in their 196-5, Rajasthan made light work of a not-insubstantial chase, led by captain Sanju Samson’s 71 not out and Dhruv Jurel’s 54 not out in an unbeaten fourth-wicket partnership of 121.

Source: theguardian.com