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Mitchell Starc hit with fan fury after disastrous KKR debut as INR 24.75 crore price tag cruelly backfires vs SRH

Australian fast bowler Mitchell Starc endured a poor outing in KKR’s opening match of IPL 2024, conceding 53 runs without a wicket

Kolkata Knight Riders may have won their IPL 2024 opening game against Sunrisers Hyderabad in a dramatic fashion on Saturday, but it was a forgettable night for their star signing, Mitchell Starc. The Australian fast bowler, who became the most expensive player in the history of the league during the auction last year – at INR 24.75 crore – conceded 53 runs off his four overs in the side’s opener.

Kolkata Knight Riders’ Mitchell Starc bowls during the IPL 2024 match against Sunrisers Hyderabad (AFP)

In his first spell, Starc conceded 22 runs off two overs but it was his final over where Heinrich Klaasen, the explosive Sunrisers batter, turned the game on its head. With a towering 209-run target to win in Kolkata, Klaasen produced a scintillating knock, smashing 63 off just 29 balls; he smashed eight sixes, three of which came in Starc’s second-last over of the innings.

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The Aussie left-armer conceded 26 runs in the 19th over to help bring SRH closer to the target; however, it was Harshit Rana who held nerves despite the odds stacked against him. With a daunting task of defending 6 in 5 deliveries, Harshit dismissed the dangerous Shahbaz Ahmed before sending Klaasen back to the pavilion too, all within three deliveries.

In the end, KKR prevailed by four runs but there were significant concerns over Starc’s poor bowling effort on social media platforms. While the KKR fans justifiably expressed their displeasure, Starc faced added criticism due to the price tag.

Here are some of the posts on social media platform X, formerly Twitter, over Starc’s outing:

Some fans, however, also backed Starc to come good as the season progresses. The Australian fast bowler has made a return to the IPL after nine years, having last represented the Royal Challengers Bangalore (now Bengaluru); he ended with an impressive season tally, taking 20 wickets in 13 matches for the side.

Told Harshit to back himself

KKR captain Shreyas Iyer admitted that Klaasen’s relentless hitting had worried him during the final overs of SRH’s run-chase. However, he kept his faith in the relatively inexperienced Harshit Rana after an expensive 19th over from Starc, which fetched 26 runs.

“Right from the 17th over, had butterflies in my stomach. Felt anything could happen in the last over. They needed 13 runs and we didn’t have the most experienced bowler. But I had the belief in him (Harshit), and I told him to back himself and it doesn’t matter what happens. He was a bit nervous coming in, and I just looked him in the eye and told him ‘this is your moment, buddy.’ Told him to back himself and doesn’t matter what happens in the game,” Iyer said in the post-match presentation. 


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