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News

Head: Anything possible in the last seven or eight overs

Australia's opener bided his time against Scotland before playing his part in the well-timed surge

This year, Travis Head has been flaying powerplays. Against Scotland, who bowled excellently in the opening six overs in St Lucia, it was a little different.
Head wasn't exactly slow; after the fielding restrictions, he was 24 of 20 balls - a strike-rate of 120 - having needed nine balls to find his first boundary. But before Saturday's innings, his powerplay strike rate in 2024 had been 173.78.
It wasn't until he had reached a 45-ball fifty that Head really flicked the switch, taking Safyaan Sharif for three sixes in four balls only broken up by a wide which all-but assured Australia would get over the line.
Head was delighted to go about his innings in a slightly different style, the pressure eased on him when Marcus Stoinis arrived in the middle and immediately found the boundary.
"There's going to be times when it's going to be done different ways," Head told reporters. "So pleased I was able to spend some time out there, get the job done, put us in a position and help us win, and have that partnership with Stoin. It's not always going to be as fluent and not going to be as fast a start. Sometimes it might be slower and we might have to do it a different way. I feel like I can do that and tonight I showed that."
Australia have huge confidence in their ability to change gears during an innings with the power the middle order possesses in Stoinis, Tim David and Matthew Wade. Glenn Maxwell is yet to find form, but should he fire that adds another dimension.
A large surge has twice been on show in the T20 World Cup: against Oman they amassed 84 in the last six overs, led by Stoinis, then against Scotland made a demanding 89 off 37 balls look relatively comfortable.
"You're going through the gears and working out where you can do it," Head said when asked about timing the Scotland pursuit. "It naturally happened today with Stoin. He was playing beautifully and I was playing that role with him where I stay out there as long as I could, knowing that hopefully my chance would come.
"But with so much power, anything is possible in the last seven, eight overs. We got to a stage where it was time to go, and we'd kept the powder dry, and we were able to accelerate through the back end."
Australia will return to St Lucia to play India in their final Super Eight match. That will follow meetings with mostly likely Bangladesh in Antigua and Afghanistan in St Vincent. The selection of Ashton Agar against Scotland was with an eye on him likely having a role during the Super Eight in conditions that have favoured spin, especially at Arnos Vale.