IPL 2024: Mitchell Starc rocks Sunrisers as KKR crowned third-time champs | Crickit
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IPL 2024: Mitchell Starc rocks Sunrisers as KKR crowned third-time champs

May 27, 2024 05:16 AM IST

The fast bowler struck early blows to puncture SRH’s ultra-aggressive batting to set up an eight-win in the IPL final at Chennai

This wasn’t a tall run-chase like 2014. No tactical masterstroke like Manvinder Bisla of 2012 fame. But Kolkata Knight Riders’ IPL 2024 title win on Sunday would still taste like ‘mishti doi’ because the title No.3 came after a decade.

Kolkata Knight Riders' Mitchell Starc, Andre Russel and teammates celebrate the dismissal of Sunrisers Hyderabad's Abhishek Sharma in the Indian Premier League 2024 final(ANI)
Kolkata Knight Riders' Mitchell Starc, Andre Russel and teammates celebrate the dismissal of Sunrisers Hyderabad's Abhishek Sharma in the Indian Premier League 2024 final(ANI)

The transformation led by mentor Gautam Gambhir’s return to the Kolkata franchise. Gambhir was captain when KKR last won. This time it was skipper Shreyas Iyer’s turn -- he stayed unbeaten along with Venkatesh Iyer (52*, 26b) in their eight-wicket win at the MA Chidambaram Stadium on Sunday as Sunrisers Hyderabad went down tamely after posting the lowest first innings score in an IPL final – 113.

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SRH’s road to the playoffs and their gung-ho approach was set up hugely with the efforts of their dynamic opening southpaws Travis Head and Abhishek Sharma – Travishek as the stadium announcer yelled to get the neutral Chennai fans going. Mitchell Starc took two balls to get rid of his compatriot Head earlier in the week in Qualifier 1. Here, he knocked back Abhishek Sharma’s (2) stumps the fifth ball with arguably the most eye-catching delivery of the competition.

Right in the first over of the contest, the Australia left-armer - his 24.5 crore price tag will no longer feel a burden – landed body blows on the super-aggressive SRH batting line-up for two knockout matches in a row.

Abhishek, playing his first IPL final, was nervous after skipper Pat Cummins chose to bat. There was some juice on offer, off the pitch. Starc angled one in from over the wicket and got it to leave the left-hander, so late he had zero reaction time. It’s a kind of fast bowler’s delivery more common in Test cricket. When bowlers get it right in T20s, it creates a spectacle – capacity crowd up in spirits to watch lighted stumps shattering as they suck the life out of one dressing room and lift up the other.

Backing up his senior bowling partner, Vaibhav Arora produced a classic red-ball dismissal – pitched on leg at pace from over the wicket and angling away from Head to catch the edge to the keeper. The man walking back for a first-ball duck had made India’s life miserable in the World Test Championship final and the ODI World Cup title clash. No final heroics for him this time. Not the way Head would have wanted his 567-run season to end.

Rahul Tripathi hung around for a while, but that wasn’t his game. The constant messaging to their batters from the SRH camp was not to compromise on intent. “We are playing a particular style, won’t work every time but when it does, it will be damaging,” Cummins said at the toss. Tripathi (9) attempted to flick another of Starc’s hissing angled balls, only managing to top edge to Ramandeep Singh in front of square.

Arora’s 17-run sixth over when Aiden Markram went after him, gave some element of respectability to the powerplay score – 40/3. But what was to follow was going to leave the orange section – the crowd was equally split between the teams – and SRH’s Chennai-based owners largely disappointed.

SRH were four wickets down at the halfway mark, six-down in 12 overs and the batters could never arrest the slide. KKR bowlers had discovered the bowling mantra on a pitch where there was enough help off the surface for pacers, some grip for off-pace balls and bounce for the spinners. The only way SRH could transfer pressure to their opponents was through some release shots. Nitish Reddy (13) tried to force the pace but Harshit Rana’s 146 kph screamer got him caught behind. Markram (20) holed out trying to pull Andre Russell out of the park.

Such is KKR’s collective bowling strength that there is no respite with spin. This has been Sunil Narine’s season. He wasn’t going to allow the match’s grip to loosen and delivered another top-draw bowling performance (4-0-16-1).

Russell, in the playing eleven for the first time in an IPL final, also left his mark with a spell that read 2.3-0-19-3. Starc wasn’t even required to bowl his final over as SRH folded up in 18.3 overs. But it was the Aussie pace ace’s thrilling opening spell (3-0-14-2) that gave KKR a huge head start.

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