Injured Starc avoids run carnage in IPL's record chase

Mitchell Starc has been forced to miss his latest IPL ordeal because of injury -- and the Australian star can afford to feel mightily relieved he did after his Kolkata side got hit for six in an amazing world-record T20 run chase at Eden Gardens.

Jonny Bairstow led Punjab Kings to an extraordinary eight-wicket triumph on Friday, plundering an unbeaten century off 45 balls as they chased down the Kolkata Knight Riders' massive 6-261, reaching 2-262 with still eight balls to spare.

Starc's had a largely wretched time for KKR despite being the league's record overseas signing, giving up almost 11-and-a-half runs an over - the highest economy rate for anyone who's bowled at least 25 overs this season - while averaging 47.83.

He was on the sidelines as an unreal show of hitting unfolded in which 42 sixes were hammered, another world record for any T20 match.

Kevin Pietersen, the old England star-turned-pundit, revealed from the commentary box that Starc had told him him he'd spiked his finger in the previous match against Bengaluru.

"I said why don't you just tape it up and bowl, and he (Starc) said 'you're not allowed to'," said Pietersen.

Starc misses the carnage
Mitchell Starc missed the carnage at Eden Gardens with a finger injury. (AP PHOTO)

"The rules are you can get it taped and play in the game you're currently in, but Mitch Starc wasn't allowed the strapping, and without that strapping, it would just tear open the wound again."

Instead, the 4.43 million dollar man must have pondered what might have been at the venerated Kolkata venue as, first, his KKR mates went on the rampage with Englishman Phil Salt (75 off 37 balls) and Trinidadian Sunil Narine (71 off 32) leading the charge.

In response, Bairstow, omitted from Punjab's previous two games after scoring just 96 in six IPL outings, hammered more in just one breathtaking knock, clouting 108no off 48 balls, with nine sixes and eight fours.

He was helped in the carnage by fellow opener and impact sub batter Prabhsimran Singh, who hit 54 off 20, before Shashank Singh then dominated an unbeaten third-wicket partnership with the English hero, smiting eight sixes in his unbeaten 68.

Asked how he approached the record T20 chase, Bairstow grinned: "Just try and whack it as hard as possible! ... We knew we had to go ballistic."

That's what the IPL has now become. There's no time to take even a momentary rest from trying to belt the cover off the ball.

"Cricket's turning into baseball isn't it? It was absolutely incredible ... games like that are out of this world," shrugged Punjab's staggered captain Sam Curran.

Asked why he felt the IPL had run into a new era of massive scores and giant hitting, Curran offered up numerous reasons - "the ways guys train, new confidence, small grounds, a bit of dew on the ball ... I'm not saying it's a batsman's game, but stats are going out of the window."


262 - the highest successful chase in any T20 cricket match - and the best in the IPL by 38 runs.

42 - most sixes in any T20 match, beating the 38 hit by Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Mumbai Indians in Hyderabad, and by Royal Challengers Bengaluru vs Sunrisers, both this season.

24 - the Kings hit more sixes than in any IPL match

523 - the total number of runs in the match was the joint-second highest match aggregate in T20s

4 - all four openers scored 50s for the first time in an IPL match.