Mitchell Starc bizarrely forced out of IPL showdown as Jonny Bairstow leads Punjab Kings to T20 world record

The Aussie quick was ruled out of the match due to not being allowed to use finger tape.

Mitchell Starc was forced to watch on as his Kolkata side was smacked around Eden Gardens after being told he couldn't take the field with finger tape on. Jonny Bairstow led the Punjab Kings to an extraordinary eight-wicket triumph on Friday, whacking 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 in a world record run chase.

Starc has struggled to find form so far in this year's IPL 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. But he played no part as his side was hammered, with the Kings hitting 42 sixes to make IPL history.

However, the Aussie's absence in the field had nothing to do with his poor run of form. Starc had spiked his finger in the side's previous match against Bengaluru, requiring the wound to be strapped up. But the Aussie quick was told he couldn't take the field with the strapping on his hand and without it, the wound would open up again.

Pictured Mitchell Starc right and Jonny Bairstow left
Mitchell Starc was forced out due to not being allowed to use finger tape to cover a wound on his bowling hand. Image: AAP

"I said why don't you just tape it up and bowl, and he (Starc) said 'You're not allowed to'," Kevin Pietersen, revealed in the commentary box. "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 had a prime position to watch Bairstow lead his side to IPL history. The Englishman was left out of Punjab's previous two games after scoring just 96 in six IPL outings but proved his worth on Friday, with 108 not out off 48 balls, notching nine sixes and eight fours.

Fellow opener Prabhsimran Singh, also hit a quick-fire 54 off 20, before Shashank Singh then dominated with the bat in an unbeaten third-wicket partnership with the English hero, swatting eight sixes in his unbeaten 68.

When asked after the match how he approached the record T20 chase, Bairstow said: "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."

While Punjab captain Sam Curran said the short-form game is turning more into baseball every day, with high scores becoming the norm. "Cricket's turning into baseball, isn't it? It was absolutely incredible ... games like that are out of this world," said 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."

Kolkata Knight Riders' captain Shreyas Iyer (L) tosses the coin as his Punjab Kings' counterpart Sam Curran (C) looks on at the start of the Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 cricket match between Kolkata Knight Riders and Punjab Kings at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on April 26, 2024. (Photo by AFP) / -- IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE -- (Photo by -/AFP via Getty Images)
Punjab captain Sam Curran said the short-form game is turning more into baseball every day.

with AAP