Friday, June 14, 2024

‘Plenty of jokes’: Ponting’s World Cup call as $4 million man lives up to payday at crucial moment

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Mitchell Starc heard “plenty of jokes” about a lack of early IPL success after becoming the most expensive player in the tournament’s history.

But the Australian pace ace got the last laugh snaring two wickets amid a flurry of wickets through the finals to propel his Kolkata Knight Riders to the title.

The $4.4 million man “turned it on” according to beaten Sunrisers captain Pat Cummins, taking two wickets, including a stunning ball to dismiss opener Abhishek Sharma as Kolkata cruised to the easiest of eight-wicket wins.

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Starc finished the tournament with 17 wickets from 14 games, $4.43 million in the bank and was the player of the match award in the final leaving Australian legend Ricky Ponting, who coached the Delhi Capitals in India, in no doubt that Starc would “have an impact” at the T20 World Cup which starts in just over a week.

“The expectation that comes with the price tag sometimes it makes players push out a little bit harder and try to do more than they need to do.” Ponting said.

“You know, conditions where Mitch is bowling at Eden Gardens (Kolkata’s home ground), the ball didn’t really swing much there this year, and the ground is like, like it’s a small ground and the outfield’s like concrete,“ Ponting noted.

“And when you’re bowling at Starc’s pace, inside edges that just make their way through the field end up going for four.

“It’s not the easiest place in the world to bowl fast, but, you know, if we go to the Caribbean where the wind’s a little bit slower and the ball’s not flying off the bat quite as hard, then Starc will have an impact.”

Starc, who copped plenty of early heat after being sent for plenty of runs early in the IPL said he knew the tide would turn and still managed to have “a lot of fun”.

“There have been plenty of jokes. A lot has been made of the money,” said Starc.

“I am older and more experienced now, so that has helped with managing the expectations and leading the attack. We have got an exciting bowling attack … it’s been a lot of fun, it’s been great to learn and see how these guys go about it but full credit to the whole players and staff, it’s made my life pretty easy.”

Cummins’ Sunrisers Hyderabad managed only 113 after Starc set the tone and finished with of 2-14 in the decider and didn’t get to bowl a fourth over, before his batters chased down the score with 57 balls remaining to seize the victory and the trophy.

“Unfortunately my old mate Starcy turned it on again,” Cummins said after the loss.

“Obviously not enough tonight, we were totally outplayed, they didn’t give us anything. It was a tricky wicket, I think if we’d got 160 we’d have felt like we were in the game, didn’t feel like a 200-plus wicket (but) a few extra runs would have given us a chance.”

Starc finished the IPL with 17 wickets from his 14 games, five of those coming in the finals, having taken 3-34 to get KKR in to the final.

Starc, Cummins and TRavis Head, who was out for a duck in the final after a stunning tournament for Sunrisers, will now link up with the Australian T20 team ahead of the World Cup opener against Oman in Barbados on June 6.

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