Mitchell Starc facing calls to be axed after $4.4 million move backfires again in IPL

The Aussie cricket star produced another woeful display as Kolkata Knight Riders fell to Rajasthan Royals.

Kolkata Knight Riders are being urged to drop Mitchell Starc or give him a rest after another nightmare performance in the IPL on Tuesday night. The Aussie cricket star has failed to live up to his $4.43 million contract - the biggest ever handed out in the IPL - and returned figures of 0-50 off four overs in his latest game against Rajasthan Royals on Tuesday.

The 34-year-old went wicketless in three of his first four games for Kolkata, but seemed to turn a corner when he snared three scalps in the Knight Riders' win against Lucknow Super Giants earlier this week. But he came crashing back to earth on Tuesday as he was unable to prevent the Royals from equalling the highest successful run chase in IPL history.

Mitchell Starc, pictured here in the IPL.
Mitchell Starc managed to help run out Trent Boult, but otherwise went wicketless again. Image: IPL

Kolkata amassed 6-223 after batting first at Eden Gardens, but a masterful knock of 107 not out from Jos Buttler got Rajasthan over the line on the final ball of the match. The Englishman scored his last 60 runs from just 30 balls as Rajasthan made IPL history with the equal-biggest run chase in the competition's history.

Starc's night started in ignominious fashion when he sprayed his very first delivery towards first slip for a wide. The Aussie star was called on to bowl the 18th over when Rajasthan still needed 46 from the final 18 balls.

Mitchell Starc, pictured here conceding five wides in a horror moment in the IPL.
Mitchell Starc conceded five wides in a horror moment in his final over against Rajasthan Royals. Image: IPL

But it turned out disastrously for Starc and the Knight Riders after the Aussie conceded 18 runs. There was one horror moment when Starc sprayed a wide on his penultimate delivery, which wicket-keeper Phil Salt fumbled to the boundary for five wides. It left Rajasthan needing 28 off 12, and Buttler got them home on the last delivery of the match.

Starc finished with woeful figures of 0-50 from his four overs (12.5 runs per over). The $4.43m man now has just five wickets for 232 runs in his six matches for KKR, at an average of 10.54 per over.

Cricket fans call for Knight Riders to drop Mitchell Starc

The pitches have been very flat and easy for batting throughout the IPL, but Starc's returns would be a massive concern for KKR considering how much money they dished out to sign him. The Aussie star is playing in the IPL for the first time in nine years, with an eye to getting some much-needed match practice in the shortest format ahead of the T20 World Cup in June.


But questions have now arisen about whether KKR can afford to keep playing the Aussie veteran, while some have suggested he should take a break and sit out a game or two, just like Glenn Maxwell has done. The Aussie all-rounder has also failed to fire in a brutal start to the tournament for Royal Challengers Bangalore, and opted to sit out their latest match against Sunrisers Hyderabad to refresh physically and mentally. Fans were quick to praise Maxwell for the selfless move, and many are calling on Starc and KKR to do the same.

Jos Buttler goes past Chris Gayle with seventh century in IPL

Buttler, who hit nine fours and six sixes in his incredible innings, has now moved ahead of Chris Gayle with his seventh ton in the IPL. The Englishman is now only behind Virat Kohli's eight for most in the history of the T20 tournament.

"Keep believing, that was the real key today," Buttler said after the match. "I was struggling a bit for rhythm. At times you feel frustrated or you are questioning yourself. I tell myself 'It's okay, keep going, you'll get your rhythm back and try to stay calm'."

"There's been plenty of times throughout the IPL, you've seen crazy things happen. Guys like (MS) Dhoni and Kohli, the way they stay till the end and keep believing and I tried to do the same."

Jos Buttler and Avesh Khan after Rajasthan Royals beat Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL.
Jos Buttler celebrates with Avesh Khan after helping Rajasthan Royals beat Kolkata Knight Riders.

with agencies