Mitchell Starc finally delivers for KKR after indifferent start to IPL

Left-arm pacer picks up two wickets in massive win over Delhi Capitals

Kolkata Knight Riders' Mitchell Starc, centre, picked up two wickets against Delhi Capitals in Visakhapatnam. AP
Powered by automated translation

The weight of a $3 million price tag can be heavy, even for someone as accomplished as Australian left-arm quick Mitchell Starc.

The all-conquering fast bowler came into IPL 2024 as the most expensive player in history after a stupendous season that included the World Test Championship and the ODI World Cup titles. However, his return to the IPL after more than eight years was far less memorable as he went for more than 10 an over in his first two matches while being wicketless for Kolkata Knight Riders.

A combined tally of eight overs for 100 runs without a wicket after matches against Hyderabad and Bengaluru put pressure on the left-arm pacer. And he finally delivered on Wednesday during a thumping win over Delhi Capitals.

The 34 year old redeemed himself against Delhi by claiming 2-25 in three overs, picking up the wickets of fellow Australians David Warner and Mitchell Marsh in Visakhapatnam.

The job for Starc was made slightly easier by Kolkata's batsmen who smashed 272-7 – the second highest total in the tournament.

Delhi never stood a chance after Starc struck early as they were bowled out for 166, sending Kolkata to the top of the points table after three straight wins.

After the match, Starc said some of the venues in the IPL are particularly difficult for bowlers; Visakhapatnam and Hyderabad have already seen scores over 270.

"It can be brutal at times, particularly on the bowlers," Starc said.

"I think we've seen on some of the grounds, some of the scores ... so yeah, you take a little bit of luck here and there.

"We're 3-0 at the start of the season, and we were pretty clinical with bat and ball. Personal stuff aside, the team's start has been fantastic."

Starc said in a format like T20, you need some luck to go your way, and it happened for him on Wednesday.

"In a game of T20, we all need a little bit of luck, a few edges go by, a dropped catch or two, that's T20 cricket," he said. "You move on pretty quickly, because the games come thick and fast. Probably not the start I wanted, but we've been winning games, so that's what it's about."

The match was set up by West Indies' Sunil Narine who smashed 85 off 39 balls to lead Kolkata to a crushing 106-run victory.

Narine and teenage batsman Angkrish Raghuvanshi raised a 104-run second wicket stand off just 48 balls.

Narine hit seven sixes and seven fours and Raghuvanshi was equally splendid with 54 off just 27 balls with three sixes and five boundaries.

Andre Russell pushed the scoring with a quickfire 41 off 19 balls and Rinku Singh smashed Nortje for 25 in the penultimate over to remain unbeaten on 26 off just eight balls.

In reply, Delhi captain Rishabh Pant made 55 off 25 balls, his second successive fifty, and Tristan Stubbs hit 54 but the rest of the batting flopped.

Starc and impact player substitute Vaibhav Arora (3-27) killed the run-chase inside the batting powerplay as Delhi got bowled out for 166 in 17.2 overs.

Updated: April 04, 2024, 9:26 AM