IPL-2024 Qualifier 1: Mitchell the ‘Starc’ difference as Kolkata Knight Riders blows away Sunrisers Hyderabad

On a pitch conducive for batting, the Aussie left-arm pacer’s triple strike helps his team restrict Sunrisers to 159; Gurbaz-Narine provide a blazing start before Venkatesh-Shreyas put the side in the final

Updated - May 22, 2024 02:37 am IST

Published - May 21, 2024 07:13 pm IST - Ahmedabad

Kolkata Knight Riders player Mitchell Starc in action during the 2024 IPL Qualifier 1 against Sunrisers Hyderabad at Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on May 21, 2024.

Kolkata Knight Riders player Mitchell Starc in action during the 2024 IPL Qualifier 1 against Sunrisers Hyderabad at Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on May 21, 2024. | Photo Credit: Vijay Soneji

When Kolkata Knight Riders paid a record ₹24.75 crore for Mitchell Starc at the player auction last year, not many were convinced it was a wise purchase for a bowler returning to the IPL for the first time since 2015.

On Tuesday, the left-arm pacer justified his price tag and lived up to his reputation as a player for the big stage. Starc’s searing opening spell (4-0-34-3) in the PowerPlay broke the back of Sunrisers Hyderabad’s strong batting line-up as the latter finished with 159 in Qualifier 1 at the Narendra Modi Stadium.

That laid the platform for the stunning eight-wicket win as the Knight Riders booked a place in the summit clash in Chennai on Sunday.

The Aussie struck off the second ball of the innings, castling compatriot Travis Head who played an expansive shot off a delivery that swung away.

Starc could have picked up one more in the same over had Sunil Narine held on to Rahul Tripathi’s catch at backward-point when the batter was on four. In the next over, Vaibhav Arora accounted for Abhishek Sharma, who failed to clear the circle and a leaping Andre Russell.

With Starc swinging the ball at a brisk pace, skipper Shreyas Iyer decided to stick with the Aussie in the PowerPlay. And the 34-year-old delivered by producing a double blow in the fifth over. He had Nitish Kumar top-edging a pull and Shahbaz Ahmed playing onto his stumps as SRH slumped to 39 for four after opting to bat.

Just when the Knight Riders were on top, Tripathi (55, 35b, 7x4, 1x6) and Heinrich Klaasen (32, 21b, 3x4, 1x6) fought back for the Men in Orange as they stitched a 62-run stand off 37 balls for the fifth wicket.

Tripathi had a second reprieve on 14 when he survived a close leg-before appeal off Starc — Shreyas did not review the umpire’s decision — and went on to boost his side’s total.

Chasing a modest target, KKR openers Narine and Rahamanullah Gurbaz got their team off to a flier, scoring 63 in the PowerPlay. Then the two Iyers — Venkatesh (51 n.o., 28b, 5x4, 4x6), and Shreyas (58 n.o., 24b, 5x4, 4x6) — unleashed a range of shots during their unbroken 97-run partnership.

Venkatesh gave the charge to the pacers, smashing them down the ground and used his long levers to slog-sweep the spinners for huge sixes on the leg-side. Shreyas completed the job in style, hammering Head for three sixes and a four as KKR cantered home in the 14th over.

SCOREBOARD

SUNRISERS HYDERABAD

Travis Head b Starc 0 (2b), Abhishek Sharma c Russell b Vaibhav 3 (4b), Rahul Tripathi run out 55 (35b, 7x4, 1x6), Nitish Kumar c Gurbaz b Starc 9 (10b, 1x4), Shahbaz Ahmed b Starc 0 (1b), Heinrich Klaasen c Rinku b Varun 32 (21b, 3x4, 1x6), Abdul Samad c Shreyas b Harshit 16 (12b, 2x6), Sanvir Singh (Impact Player for Abhishek) b Narine 0 (1b), Pat Cummins c Gurbaz b Russell 30 (24b, 2x4, 2x6), Bhuvneshwar Kumar lbw b Varun 0 (4b), Vijayakanth Viyaskanth (not out) 7 (5b); Extras (w-5, nb-2): 7; Total (in 19.3 overs): 159.

FALL OF WICKETS

1-0 (Head, 0.2 overs), 2-13 (Abhishek, 1.5), 3-39 (Nitish, 4.5), 4-39 (Shahbaz, 4.6), 5-101 (Klaasen, 10.6), 6-121 (Tripathi, 13.2), 7-121 (Sanvir, 13.3), 8-125 (Samad, 14.4), 9-126 (Bhuvneshwar, 15.6).

KNIGHT RIDERS BOWLING

Starc 4-0-34-3, Vaibhav 2-0-17-1, Harshit 4-0-27-1, Narine 4-0-40-1, Russell 1.3-0-15-1, Varun 4-0-26-2.

KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS

Rahmanullah Gurbaz c Viyaskanth b Natarajan 23 (14b, 2x4, 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): 11; Total (for two wkts. in 13.4 overs): 164.

FALL OF WICKETS

1-44 (Gurbaz, 3.2), 2-67 (Narine, 6.2).

SUNRISERS BOWLING

Bhuvneshwar 3-0-28-0, Cummins 3-0-38-1, Natarajan 3-0-22-1, Viyaskanth 2-0-22-0, Head 1.4-0-32-0, Nitish 1-0-13-0.

Toss: SRH; PoM: Starc.

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