Mitchell Starc IPL 2024.
Mitchell Starc IPL 2024. Image Credit: X

The Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) became the first team to earn tickets for the final of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024. The biggest superstar behind their comfortable victory in the first-qualifier was Mitchell Starc, who bagged the ‘Player-of-the-Match’ award too.

KKR made a very easy chase of 161 runs with eight wickets in hand, and 38 balls to spare, as their captain Shreyas Iyer remained unbeaten on 58 runs in 24 balls, besides getting good support from Venkatesh Iyer for his individual 51* -runs in 28-balls.

Kolkata set the game with ball in the powerplay, when they restricted a huge batting line-up of Sunrisers Hyderabad for just 45 runs for the loss of four wickets. Two of their inform openers could do much in the vital game.

Kevin Pietersen praised Mitchell Starc for steal performance under pressure

The tone of the game was set in the very first over of the encounter, when Mitchell Starc knocked over the stumps of Travis Head, on a duck, with a beautiful swinging delivery. The ball got a hint of late swing with outward movement around the off-stump, as Head, looking to go down the ground, left a gap between bat and pad for the ball to disturb the stumps.

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Mitchell Starc got his rhythm back with the new ball. Suddenly the ball starts to swing more, besides getting more bounce and carry off the surface.

In his third straight over, the left-arm pacer sent back Nitish Reddy using his smartness. He went with a few length balls, before going for the bumper outside off. The ball cramped Reddy up for a room as the thick edge died into the hands of the wicket-keeper.

On the very next ball, Mitchell Starc broke the stumps of Shahbaz Ahmed, who looked to defend the short ball. But because of the awkward bounce, he poked it back on the three sticks to dislodge the middle stumps.

Mitchell Starc didn’t find himself in a good space at the start of the IPL 2024. Coming into this game, he had only 12 wickets in 12 innings at an economy of nearly 12. The pressure of his huge cheque of INR 24.75 crore was getting on his head too.

The former England batter, Kevin Pietersen acknowledged Mitchell Starc’s performance and praised his performance with the ball in a pressurized game. He also feels that the big players deserves big bucks in the cash-rich league for a certain reason.

‘Yeah, they (Australian players) are the biggest match players once they get the big bucks paid. They get paid the big bucks for a very good reason. He didn’t say that you are gonna pay me the money and I am not gonna give a performance. He won’t say I don’t know how to bowl; he knows how to bowl. That’s the reason why he has got what he has got,’ The former England middle order batter Kevin Pietersen expressed on Star Sports show.

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Mitchell Starc finished with 3/34 in his four overs, and feels that it’s about taking responsibility on the big stage.

‘I don’t think too much is being said about money anymore. I think it’s about the player, it’s about accepting responsibilities. I think he did that this evening on the biggest stage. I think Sunday (final) is probably the biggest stage but to get to Sunday he needed to do what he did today. I mean what you gotta do, you need to keep running and hit 140-145 kmph,’ Mitchell Starc spoke at the end of the game in the presentation ceremony.

The Australia left-arm pacer will be in action for one last time in this IPL 2024, when Kolkata Knight Riders play the final on May 26, at the MA Chidambaram Stadium, in Chennai.

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