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Master blasters Travis Head and Jake Fraser-McGurk trade IPL blitzes
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Master blasters Travis Head and Jake Fraser-McGurk trade IPL blitzes

Australia can currently boast the IPL’s two leading master blasters – but Travis Head’s latest blitz ended up trumping Jake Fraser-McGurk’s pyrotechnics in an extraordinary duel of big-hitting in Delhi.

Head, fresh from his remarkable 39-ball hundred for Sunrisers Hyderabad in Bengaluru five days earlier, arguably surpassed even that by clouting a fifty off just the first three overs of the match in their 67-run win over the Delhi Capitals on Saturday.

The man who broke India’s heart in last year’s World Cup final has become the country’s entertainer-in-chief, going on to make 89 off 32 balls, laced with six sixes and 11 fours.

But Head may now have another rival to his crown. Having to chase another monster total of 7-266, centred on Head’s explosion, Delhi called on Fraser-McGurk, who’s now made two lightning half-centuries in his first three IPL matches.

Head had blasted to his fifty in just 16 balls. Fraser-McGurk, though, did it one ball quicker – making it the fastest half-century in the league this season and the joint third-fastest ever.

He came to the wicket after his childhood idol David Warner, back after his finger injury, had gone for just one, caught by Pat Cummins off Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

Delhi Capitals' Jake Fraser-McGurk flies to an IPL fifty from 15 balls against Sunrisers Hyderabad.View image in fullscreen

Mayhem ensued. Facing Washington Sundar, Fraser-McGurk immediately smashed him for four, four, six, four, six and six to move to 30 off just his first over.

He then hit Australian captain Cummins’ slower ball contemptuously into the stands over long on and followed up with three maximums in four balls off Mayank Markande before the wristspinner finally got him to sky a miscue, out for a stunning 18-ball 65.

The 22-year-old has made an amazing start to his IPL life, making it 140 runs in just three innings, carved out at a brutal strike rate of 222.22.

Once Fraser-McGurk had gone, though, the impetus went from the chase by the Ricky Ponting-coached outfit, with Sunrisers going on to win their fifth match in seven to lie second in the table.

Their success has been based on the rocket ‘Head-starts’ provided by the 30-year-old Adelaide slayer, who’s been freed up to fling his bat at just about every ball.

The Arun Jaitley Stadium’s small boundaries just couldn’t rein in the amazing hitting of Head and fellow opener Abhishek Sharma, who put on an unbeaten 125 in the first six overs — the highest score in an IPL power play annals — with the young Indian making 46 off 12.

For that confidence to enjoy himself, Head thanks his Test – and now IPL – captain Cummins. Asked what he felt when watching Head wreaking havoc out there, Cummins smiled.

“Part of me is very excited and elated — and the other part thinks ‘I’ve got to bowl on this pitch later!’ But every game, they keep delivering, keep playing the way we want and it’s exciting to watch.”

Head, who’s second only to Virat Kohli in the run-scoring stakes this season, having made 324 in six innings at a strike rate of 216, is enjoying his purple patch while it lasts.

“We’re on a bit of a roll here, it’s very enjoyable,” Head said. “It’s all coming together over a couple of years of hard work … I haven’t played a lot of T20 cricket the past few years but I’ve just got back in the swing of things. It’s nice to be at the top of the order.”

Source: theguardian.com