Mitchell Starc
Big-money signing Mitchell Starc had the humbling feeling of going for 26 in an over in the IPL. Image by AP PHOTO
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Starc smashed for 26 in an over – but wins Cummins duel

Ian Chadband March 24, 2024

Mitchell Starc has edged his opening-weekend Indian Premier League duel with Pat Cummins in Kolkata – but only after the humbling feeling of being smashed for 26 runs in a single over.

A thrilling contest ended with Sunrisers Hyderabad captain Cummins having to hit Harshit Rana’s last delivery of the match for six to win but the Aussie skipper could only swing and miss, leaving Starc’s Kolkata Knight Riders to squeeze to a four-run victory.

Er, not that Starc, the most expensive foreign import the league has ever entertained after KKR bought him for a mind-boggling $4.43 million, quite looked as if he was worth all the mega-money on Saturday.

Cummins disappointment
 Pat Cummins (R) was left frustrated by a last-ball defeat in his first match as Hyderabad captain. Image by AP PHOTO 

Asked to nail the penultimate over, with Hyderabad still requiring an unlikely 39 off 12 balls to overhaul KKR’s formidable 7-208, Starc bowled a wide, and was pummelled for four sixes – three from Heinrich Klaasen (63 off 29 balls) and another from Shahbaz Ahmed – as the Sunrisers sniffed an outlandish win.

But despite getting hit for six first ball of the death over by Shahbaz, Rana then took the wickets of both danger men and delivered that final dot ball to new batter Cummins to seal the win.

It had been worked out that Starc’s deal effectively equated to him getting paid $A11,000 per ball during the IPL season – but his final figures of 0-53 off four overs at an economy rate of 13.25 an over demonstrated money can’t buy you everything in the IPL.

Cummins, a huge $3.67 million buy himself, had performed rather better with the ball, taking 1-32 off his four overs, but Andre Russell’s fantastic 64no with seven sixes after coming in at number eight ensured the hosts powered past 200.

“It was a close game in the end, a wonderful game of cricket but unfortunately didn’t go our way,” shrugged Cummins.

“Dre Russ did what he does best. You do your planning, you try to execute your plans, but he’s a pretty tough guy to bowl to.”

Earlier on Saturday in Mullanpur, it also didn’t go the way of two other Australian luminaries, David Warner and Mitch Marsh, as their Delhi Capitals outfit lost to Punjab Kings by four wickets.

The pair had started brightly enough, with Warner (29 off 21 balls) and Marsh (20 off 12) putting on 39 off 20 for the first wicket, but Delhi stuttered before some fabulous late hitting from impact sub Abishek Porel (32no off 10) took them to 9-174.

Then Marsh got hammered for 52 off his four wicketless overs and Warner, who had otherwise been quite brilliant in the field, dropped a difficult one in the deep in the penultimate over.

The English pair of Sam Curran (63) and Liam Livingstone, with three sixes in his 38no, both took a fancy to Marsh’s fodder and did most to steer the Kings to their target on 6-177.