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Aussies at the IPL: Green's growth, Warner's return, as eyes turn to T20 World Cup

Cameron Green and Travis Head both earned player of the match awards in the IPL last week

Alex Malcolm
Alex Malcolm
13-May-2024
The IPL season is heading towards the business end while the T20 World Cup looms around the corner. Several Australians have been heavily involved in the IPL's race to the playoffs over the past week. Here is how some of them have fared.

Green's growth in a new role bodes well for Australia

Cameron Green has had an outstanding week for Royal Challengers Bengaluru to keep their playoff hopes alive playing a pivotal role in two wins over Punjab Kings and Delhi Capitals. Against Punjab, Green made 46 off 27 at No. 5 with five fours and a six and shared in a 92-run stand with Virat Kohli that came off just 46 balls as RCB racked up a match-winning total of 241 for 7. He followed up that performance with an accomplished all-round display against Capitals, scoring 32 not out off 24, taking 1 for 19 from four overs and producing an excellent direct hit run out to earn player of the match honours. Green appears to be getting more comfortable with the unfamiliar and highly specialised No. 5 role. He has started brightly with five men out in his last two innings and has slowed down at the death as wickets have fallen around him. He was 27 off 16 against Capitals but could not find the rope in his last eight balls and only managed to score five runs.
He still hasn't quite unlocked the secret to death hitting but Australia's coaching staff will be thrilled with his development in the role as it only adds to his versatility for the upcoming World Cup. He also bowled well against Capitals, conceding one boundary in four overs. His second over, the 11th of the chase, was his best where he conceded three singles and three dots and ran out Tristan Stubbs with a stunning direct hit having sprinted to the striker's end to collect the ball in his follow-through before swivelling and hitting at the non-striker's to beat Stubbs after he was sent back by Axar Patel.

Warner misfires on return while Fraser-McGurk's scintillating form continues

David Warner finally returned from his finger injury against RCB but it did not go as planned. He was unable to field due to the bone bruising that is still causing some discomfort but he was cleared to bat as the impact sub. He only lasted two balls. He was a little unfortunate as he nailed an arm ball from left-arm orthodox Swapnil Singh straight to a very well-placed man at wide long-on. Some more elevation would have seen it sail into the stands. His frustration was evident as he threw his head back after seeing Will Jacks pouch the catch.
Meanwhile, at the other end Jake Fraser-McGurk continued his spectacular form and was unfortunate not to post another blistering half-century. Having thumped a 19-ball fifty in Capitals' win over Rajasthan Royals last week where he torched Avesh Khan for 28 off an over, he looked on again against RCB. He flat-batted Swapnil for six first ball and then clubbed Mohammed Siraj over his head and through cover to race to 21 off 8. But he was cruelly run out backing up too far when a Shai Hope straight drive ricocheted off Yash Dayal's fingers onto the stumps at the non-striker's.
Capitals have all-but been eliminated from the IPL playoff race, but Warner has one more chance against Lucknow Super Giants to find some time in the middle before the World Cup while Fraser-McGurk can put an exclamation point on his incredible debut season and push his case further for a World Cup travelling reserve spot.

Head's heroics continue while Cummins keeps on keeping on

Travis Head's IPL form is reaching a ridiculous realm. He and his Sunrisers Hyderabad opening partner Abhishek Sharma produced the most brutal batting beatdown of the tournament to date against Justin Langer's Super Giants, mowing down a target of 166 in just 9.4 overs. He made 89 not out off 30 balls with eight fours and eight sixes to finish player of the match.
This came just two days after Head also made a comparatively pedestrian 48 off 30 in a losing effort against Mumbai Indians. Head is the IPL's third-highest run-scorer with 533 runs in 11 innings. He is the only one of the top 12 run-scorers to be striking at a rate higher than 183, having scored his runs at a staggering 201.83 per 100 balls across the tournament. Only Abhishek (205.64) and Fraser-McGurk (237.41) have scored quicker across the tournament among players with 60 runs or more.
Meanwhile, SRH captain Pat Cummins continued his solid form with a great all-round showing against Mumbai. He made an outstanding 35 not out off 17 balls with two fours and two sixes to lift his side from a deep hole with the bat, before being one of the few SRH bowlers to survive Suryakumar Yadav's onslaught, taking 1 for 35 from four with a maiden. He was more expensive against Lucknow but mainly in his last over where he conceded 19 including four boundaries, although several came via skewed mishits into gaps.

Alex Malcolm is an associate editor at ESPNcricinfo