All-conquering fast bowler came into IPL 2024 as most expensive player in history


(MENAFN) The burden of a staggering USD3 million price tag can weigh heavily on any player, regardless of their track record, and Australian left-arm pace sensation Mitchell Starc experienced this firsthand as he commenced his journey in the 2024 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Arriving at IPL 2024 as the most expensive player in the tournament's history, Starc carried the weight of high expectations following a stellar season that saw him clinch titles in the World Test Championship and the ODI World Cup. However, his return to the IPL arena after an absence of over eight years was marred by a lackluster start, marked by costly spells in his initial two matches for the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) where he remained wicketless.

Conceding a total of 100 runs without any breakthroughs in eight overs across encounters against Hyderabad and Bengaluru, Starc found himself under scrutiny as doubts surfaced regarding his form and effectiveness in the IPL setting. The pressure mounted on the seasoned campaigner as he sought to justify his hefty price tag and prove his mettle in the tournament.

However, redemption came knocking for the 34-year-old speedster during a resounding victory over the Delhi Capitals. Displaying glimpses of his formidable prowess, Starc showcased his class by returning figures of 2-25 in three overs, accounting for the dismissals of fellow Australians David Warner and Mitchell Marsh on a lively pitch in Visakhapatnam.

Starc's resurgence was complemented by a stellar performance from Kolkata's batting unit, which amassed a formidable total of 272-7, marking the second-highest score in the tournament thus far. Capitalizing on the momentum provided by their batsmen, Starc's incisive spells early on dismantled Delhi's batting lineup, restricting them to a modest total of 166 and propelling Kolkata to the summit of the points table with three consecutive victories.

Reflecting on the challenges posed by certain venues in the IPL, Starc acknowledged the daunting task faced by bowlers, particularly at venues like Visakhapatnam and Hyderabad, which have witnessed daunting totals exceeding 270 runs. Despite the unforgiving nature of the tournament, Starc's resilient performance serves as a testament to his skill and determination to rise above adversity and make a meaningful contribution to KKR's campaign.

As the IPL season unfolds, Starc's resurgence offers a glimmer of hope for KKR and underscores the unpredictable nature of cricket, where fortunes can change swiftly, transforming initial struggles into triumphs of resilience and fortitude.

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