Local lad Tilak Varma made a stunning 64 off 34 balls, but his efforts went in vain as Sunrisers Hyderabad emerged triumphant in a stunning six-hitting run fest with a 31-run win over Mumbai Indians to open their account in IPL 2024 at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium on Wednesday.

After sizzling half-centuries from Heinrich Klassen, Abhishek Sharma and Travis Head helped SRH amass an astonishing 277/3, the highest-ever score in the competition’s history, MI looked to get the chase done thanks to heroics of Tilak and other batters.

But SRH’s bowlers shined by giving no pace and keeping the scoring rate in check in the middle overs to keep MI to 246/5. With this being MI’s second defeat in a game where many records tumbled in front of 35,080 fans, questions will be asked of their listless bowling and changes made in the line-up, as well as of captain Hardik Pandya’s performance and decision making.

Chasing a mammoth 278, Rohit Sharma and Ishan Kishan were off the mark from the word go. Rohit hit Unadkat for two leg-side sixes in the second over, while Kishan smacked Bhuvneshwar Kumar for a four and three maximums in the third over as MI reached 50/0.

But Shahbaz Ahmed struck with his second ball in the fourth over to have Kishan slog-sweeping to deep mid-wicket and fall for a 13-ball 34. Rohit was dropped by Abdul Samad at mid-on, but couldn’t make much of the reprieve as his top-edge on the pull was caught by backward square leg off Pat Cummins.

Naman Dhir and Tilak Varma began to deal in hitting sixes regularly off SRH’s bowlers to keep MI in the hunt of a massive chase. The standout point came when Tilak scooped, switch-hit and swept Shahbaz for three sixes in the tenth over, before slamming a four off Jaydev Unadkat through extra cover to get his fifty in 24 balls.

The 84-run stand off 37 balls for the third wicket ended when Dhir slashed straight to extra cover off Unadkat. Tilak and Hardik Pandya hit three boundaries between themselves, before the former was tricked by a slower delivery from Cummins and was caught at long-on, after the strategic timeout.

MI went 20 balls without a boundary, before Tim David flicked, slashed and smashed Bhuvneshwar for a four and two sixes. David would hit Unadkat for a six and four each, before the pacer bounced back by having Hardik Pandya top-edge a pull to keeper behind.

Impact Player Romario Shepherd hit a six and two fours in the final over, but it wasn’t enough to deny SRH a win in an absolute run-fest of a match which had the most runs scored collectively and most sixes ever hit in a T20 game.

Brief Scores: Sunrisers Hyderabad 277/3 in 20 overs (Heinrich Klassen 80 not out, Abhishek Sharma 63; Piyush Chawla 1-34, Hardik Pandya 1-46) beat Mumbai Indians 246/5 in 20 overs (Tilak Varma 64, Tim David 42 not out; Pat Cummins 2-35, Jaydev Unadkat 2-47) by 31 runs

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