ANI Photo | He was brilliant from ball one: Watson hails KKR pacer Starc’s performance against SRH

Former Australia cricketer Shane Watson showered praise on Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) pacer Mitchell Starc and said he was ‘brilliant from ball one’ against Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in the Qualifier 1 match of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024.
Starc displayed a stupendous performance at the Narendra Modi Stadium on Tuesday, the Aussie bowler picked up three wickets in his four-over spell and gave just 34 runs.
Speaking at the JioCinema, Watson said Starc was at his best against the Hyderabad-based franchise. The former cricketer added the game changed for the pacer after he removed Starc in the second ball of the first inning.
“He was brilliant from ball one. It’s obvious with Mitchell Starc that if he gets the first few balls right on the money, the length, the line, and the swing, then you know he’s on top of his game. Throughout this TATA IPL, he’s been hit-or-miss, maybe more miss than hit. But tonight, he was at his very best. You would think the ten days from the previous game to this one gave him time to physically and mentally freshen up, and he hit the ground running. He got Travis Head out in the second ball and things went extremely well from there for Mitchell Starc and KKR,” Watson said.
Recapping the match, Sunrisers Hyderabad elected to bat first. After being reduced to 39/4 following an incredible powerplay spell by Mitchell Starc, a 62-run stand between Rahul Tripathi (55 in 35 balls, with seven fours and a six) and Heinrich Klaasen (32 in 21 balls, with three fours and a six) helped SRH cross the 100-run mark. But wickets kept falling for Sunrisers as bowlers were able to maintain pressure on KKR. A late cameo from skipper Mitchell Starc (30 in 24 balls, with two fours and two sixes) took SRH to a respectable 159 in 19.3 overs.
Starc was the pick of the bowlers for KKR, with a spell of 3/34 in four overs, once again making an impact during the big stages. Varun Chakravarthy also picked up 2/26 in four overs. Vaibhav Arora, Sunil Narine, Andre Russell and Vaibhav Arora got a wicket each.
In the run-chase of 160 runs, a 44-run partnership between openers Rahmanullah Gurbaz (23 in 14 balls, with two fours and two sixes) and Sunil Narine (21 in 16 balls, with four boundaries) provided a fine platform to KKR. Attacking half-centuries from skipper Shreyas Iyer (58* in 24 balls, with five fours and four sixes) and Venkatesh Iyer (51* in 28 balls, with five fours and four sixes) made a mockery of SRH’s bowling and run-chase, winning the game by eight wickets with 38 balls to go.
With this win, KKR has earned a direct spot in the final, while SRH has one more shot at the title clash and will play in Qualifier two against the winner of the eliminator match between Royal Challengers Bengaluru (RCB) and Rajasthan Royals (RR) taking place on Wednesday. (ANI)

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