Aussie $4m man make his mark

Kolkata Knight Riders' Mitchell Starc (Photo by Punit PARANJPE / AFP)
Kolkata Knight Riders' Mitchell Starc (Photo by Punit PARANJPE / AFP)

Mitchell Starc has hit form at the right time with the World Cup looming after the $4 million man snared crucial wickets for Kolkata Knight Riders propelling them into Sunday’s IPL final.

Having struggled early in the tournament, for which he was paying paid the record $4.43, figure, the Aussie spearhead removed Aussie teammate Travis Head for a duck among three scalps to set up an eight wicket win over Pat Cummins’ Sunrisers.

Starc had been flogged to all parts in a tournament dominated by batters and increased scores which made the veteran look all of his 34 years.

But his 3-34 was evidence of a man firing when it mattered most, a role he’ll have to play when Australia’s T20 World Cup campaign begins on June 6 against Oman in Barbados.

Starc looms as a late arrival to the tournament given he’s not got to play in Sunday’s final, with Australian players set to leak in to the Caribbean in dribs and drabs from their various ports.

He could even miss two warm-up games, but the pressure-packed environment of an IPL final would top clashes with Namibia and the West Indies as a better lead in.

Starc was happy to get the wicket of head, and a win over Sunrisers captain Cummins, whose team is now headed in to a must-win challenger final to proceed to the decider.

“Between Pat, Trav and I we’ve played a lot here, Starc said after the clash in Ahmedabad.

“Liked to get Trav early, doesn’t always happen He’s been phenomenal this tournament. To get him cheaply was big.”

Sunrisers will on Friday (Saturday AEST) meet the winner of Wednesday’s (Thursday AEST) eliminator between Rajasthan Royals and a Royal Challengers Bengaluru side likely to feature Glenn Maxwell and Cam Green with another chance to make the final.

“Not our day but we have another crack at it,” said Cummins.

“We’ll try to put this one behind us pretty quickly. You get these days in T20 when it doesn’t work out. We were off the pace, a few guys didn’t get a start and we couldn’t get it done with the ball.”