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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Starc's Zingers Stun SRH!

Starc's Zingers Stun SRH!

By LAXMI NEGI
May 22, 2024 08:19 IST
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Two-time champions Kolkata Knight Riders secured their place in the IPL final with a dominant eight wicket victory over Sunrisers Hyderabad in Qualifier 1.

Maintaining their top spot through the league stage, KKR continued their stellar form. Mitchell Starc's fiery opening spell crippled the SRH top order, paving the way for a comfortable chase.

This win marks KKR's fourth IPL final appearance, solidifying their position as one of the tournament's powerhouse teams.

 

Mitchell Starc

Mitchell Starc

The stage was set for Qualifier 1, the stakes high for both teams. But it was Mitchell Starc who stole the show, transforming into a demolition machine and single-handedly dismantling the Sunrisers Hyderabad batting line-up.

Prior to this match, Starc's performance in the league stage had been underwhelming. With just 12 wickets and a high economy rate, doubts began to surface. However, Starc, renowned for his big match temperament, saved his best for the biggest stage.

His fiery opening spell was a masterclass in raw pace and lethal swing. Targeting the SRH top order within the Powerplay, Starc turned the match on its head.

Taking inspiration from Arshdeep Singh's recent success against Travis Head, he unleashed a searing yorker that sent the Australian batter packing for a golden duck.

But Starc wasn't content with just one wicket. He was on a mission to dismantle the entire SRH batting line-up. Even a missed review for LBW against Rahul Tripathi couldn't dampen his relentless assault. He rattled the remaining batters, dictating the terms of the chase and putting KKR firmly in control.

Mitchell Starc

Starc's third over proved to be the turning point of the match. He cranked up the pressure even further, delivering a devastating double wicket. With a nasty bounce, he induced a top-edged skier from Nitish Reddy (9), easily pouched by the wicket-keeper.

The very next ball, his mastery of line and length was on full display. A perfectly pitched delivery outside off had the left-handed Shahbaz Ahmed (0) tentatively prod at it, dragging it onto his middle stump. Starc's celebration, a clear expression of dominance, spoke volumes about the impact he was having on the match.

This fiery three wicket burst ripped the heart out of the SRH batting order, leaving them reeling at a precarious 39/4.

The middle order now faced a monumental task of salvaging the innings. Starc's exceptional spell wasn't just match-winning; it was the foundation for KKR's dominant victory.

Mitchell Starc

He finished with 4-0-34-3, a testament to his ability to exploit early wickets and dismantle batting line-ups with his raw pace. This performance served as a stark reminder of why he was the most sought-after bowler at the IPL auction.

Starc, the big-match specialist, silenced his critics and emerged as the hero of Qualifier 1. He was rightfully adjudged the Player of the Match for his sensational bowling performance.

Varun Chakravarthy

Varun Chakravarthy

After Mitchell Starc's fiery opening spell crippled the SRH top order, Varun Chakravarthy took over the mantle of wreaking havoc in the middle overs. Bowling with an economy of a miser (6.50 RPO), Chakravarthy choked the run flow and picked up two crucial wickets for just 26 runs in his four overs.

SRH batters, desperate to consolidate after the early carnage, found Chakravarthy equally unplayable. The mystery spinner struck gold in his very first over, dismissing the dangerous Heinrich Klaasen for a brisk 32 off 21 balls.

Chakravarthy's clever delivery darted into the pitch, leaving Klaasen with no room to manoeuvre. The South African batter could only manage a drag towards deep mid wicket, where Rinku Singh completed a stunning catch under pressure.

Chakravarthy continued his stranglehold on the SRH innings, stifling their scoring rate and taking crucial wickets. In the 16th over, he displayed his variations once again, bamboozling Bhuvneshwar Kumar with a well-disguised wrong'un. The dismissal, a plumb LBW, further restricted SRH's progress.

His impressive performance since the 2023 season continues, with a league-leading 40 wickets in 27 IPL innings. He is also the leading wicket-taker among spinners in the current season.

Harshit Rana

Harshit Rana

While the headlines might be dominated by Starc's brilliance, young pacer Harshit Rana played a crucial role in stifling the SRH lower order. Bowling with an economy of 6.75 runs per over, Rana conceded just 27 runs in his four overs and picked up a key wicket.

Facing a dangerous Abdul Samad, known for his six-hitting prowess, Rana displayed nerves of steel. He delivered a well-directed slower ball, an offcutter. Samad, tempted by the full toss, went for the big shot but miscued it.

Skipper Shreyas Iyer, positioned perfectly at long off, judged the catch beautifully, just inside the boundary line, to send Samad packing for 16 runs.

Rana's impressive spell, along with the experience of Starc and Chakravarthy, ensured KKR successfully defended their modest target.

Qualifier 1: Who Bowled Best?

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LAXMI NEGI / Rediff.com

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