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IPL 2024: Starc delivers on big stage as KKR storm into final

Starc, who mostly stays away from the IPL to keep his body strong and mind fresh for national duties, kickstarted the mayhem with a peach to fellow Australian Travis Head.
Last Updated : 21 May 2024, 19:41 IST
Last Updated : 21 May 2024, 19:41 IST

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Ahmedabad: Where is the real Mitchell Starc? What has happened to the Australian left-arm pacer this IPL? Has the richest T20 league in the world relegated the most expensive purchase ever to just another regular bowler? These and many such questions kept floating as Starc endured a largely ordinary tournament by his extremely high standards.

Great players always find the big moments to make a statement. Kolkata Knight Riders’ Starc, winner of four ICC world titles with the mighty Australian team, chose the Qualifier 1 against Sunrisers Hyderabad here at the Narendra Modi Stadium to stamp his class and vindicate why his franchise splurged an eye-popping Rs 24.75 crore on him at the auctions last year.

Producing a devastating opening spell of 3/22 — he finished with 3/34 — where he made the ball swing and seam like many are accustomed to seeing him do, Starc brought the Sunrisers Hyderabad to their knees in the Power Play and the former champions struggled to recover from that opening assault to be bowled out for a below-par 159. 

Two-time champions Kolkata then came out all guns blazing with the bat too, romping to victory in just 13.4 overs to punch the direct ticket to next Sunday’s final in Chennai. After openers Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Sunil Narine blasted quick-fire 20s, Venkatesh Iyer and Shreyas Iyer hammered unbeaten 50s in blistering fashion to leave SRH absolutely shell-shocked. 

Starc, who mostly stays away from the IPL to keep his body strong and mind fresh for national duties, kickstarted the mayhem with a peach to fellow Australian Travis Head. Starc got the second ball of the opening over to angle in and then shape away, a befuddled Head missing it completely only to see his stumps rattled.

Then came a sizzling third over. After setting up Nitish Kumar Reddy with a few full ones, Starc banged one short and the batter instantly went for the pull shot. The pace on the ball, however, was too much for Nitish to handle and he ended up top-edging it, offering a simple catch to wicketkeeper Rahmanullah Gurbaz.

Next ball he sent back Shahbaz Ahmed packing for a golden duck with another piece of sorcery. Shahbaz expected a full and fast one but Starc, reading the mind of the batter, bowled cross seam and pulled the length back. Shahbaz, utterly bemused and with no footwork whatsoever, ended up inside-edging onto his stumps. SRH, so accustomed to blazing starts this IPL, were in complete tatters at 39/4. 

It could have been worse had Starc opted for a review against Rahul Tripathi who missed a searing yorker. Replays confirmed pad first and Hawkeye predicted it would have hit the leg stump.

Expensive and largely ineffective this IPL barring the 4/33 performance against Mumbai Indians, Starc laid the groundwork with a telling performance and then it was up to the rest of his bowling colleagues to ensure the pressure was maintained on the Sunrisers. And they did that job with aplomb before the batters completed the annihilation to leave team mentor Gautam Gambhir and principal owner Shah Rukh Khan a satisfied lot.

SCORE BOARD 

SUNRISERS HYDERABAD: Travis Head b Starc 0 (1b), Abhishek Sharma c Russell b Arora 3 (4b), Rahul Tripathi (run out) 55 (35b, 7x4, 1x6), Nitish Kumar Reddy c Gurbaz b Starc 9 (10b, 1x4), Shahbaz Ahmed b Starc 0 (1b), Heinrich Klaasen c Rinku b Chakravarthy 32 (21b, 3x4, 1x6), Abdul Samad c Shreyas b Rana 16 (12b, 2x6), Sanvir Singh b Narine 0 (1b), Pat Cummins c Gurbaz b Russell 30 (24b, 2x4, 2x6), Bhuvneshwar Kumar lbw Chakravarthy 0 (4b), Vijayakanth Viyaskanth (not out) 7 (5b).  Extras (NB-2, W-5) 7. TOTAL (all out, 19.3 overs) 159. 

Fall of wickets: 1-0 (Head), 2-13 (Abhishek), 3-39 (Nitish), 4-39 (Shahbaz), 5-101 (Klaasen), 6-121 (Tripathi)  7-121 (Sanvir), 8-125 (Samad), 9-126 (Bhuvneshwar).

Bowling: Mitchell Starc 4-0-34-3, Vaibhav Arora 2-0-17-1, Harshit Rana 4-0-27-1, Sunil Narine 4-0-40-1, Andre Russell 1.3-0-15-1, Varun Chakravarthy 4-0-26-2.

KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS: Rahmanullah Gurbaz c Viyaskanth b Natarajan 23 (14b, 2x4m 2x6), Sunil Narine c Viyaskanth b Cummins 21 (16b, 4x4), Venkatesh Iyer (not out) 51 (28b, 5x4, 4x6), Shreyas Iyer (not out) 58 (24b, 5x4, 4x6). Extras (LB-9, W-2). TOTAL (for 2 wkts, 13.4 overs) 164. 

Fall of wickets: 1-44 (Gurbaz), 2-67 (Narine)

Bowling: Bhuvneshwar Kumar 3-0-28-0, Pat Cummins 3-0-38-1, T Natarajan 3-0-22-1, Vijayakanth Viyaskanth 2-0-22-0, Travis Head 1.4-0-32-0, Nitish Kumar Reddy 1-0-13-0.

Result: KKR won by 8 wkts 

PoM: Mitchell Starc

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Published 21 May 2024, 17:23 IST

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