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Starc leads Kolkata to IPL final with big win over Hyderabad

Starc, a left-arm fast bowler, validated his price tag from the December auction when Kolkata bought him for £2.34 million.

Starc’s twin strikes in his third over rattled the opposition as he dismissed Nitish Kumar Reddy and Shahbaz Ahmed with successive balls. (Photo: Getty Images)

By: Vivek Mishra

Mitchell Starc took three early wickets to help Kolkata Knight Riders reach the IPL final with an eight-wicket victory over Sunrisers Hyderabad in Ahmedabad on Tuesday.

Kolkata, two-time champions, bowled out Hyderabad for 159 as Starc recorded figures of 3-34 in the first playoff, qualifier 1, at the world’s largest cricket stadium.

“We needed to pick early wickets,” said Starc, named player of the match. “The spinners were effective and the whole bowling department was bang on.”

Starc, a left-arm fast bowler, validated his price tag from the December auction when Kolkata bought him for £2.34 million, making him the most expensive buy in IPL history.

This figure broke a record after Hyderabad bought Pat Cummins for £1.96 million in the same auction and later made him captain.

Venkatesh Iyer, scoring 51, and skipper Shreyas Iyer, scoring 58, remained unbeaten as Kolkata achieved their target with 38 balls to spare.

Hyderabad will have another chance to make the final when they face the winner of the eliminator in the second qualifier on Friday in Chennai.

“We all have played enough cricket, and going to a new venue (Chennai) helps us as well, so we gotta keep this behind and move on,” said Cummins.

Ahmedabad saw temperatures above 44 degrees Celsius (111 degrees Fahrenheit) for the second consecutive day.

The 132,000-capacity stadium had many empty seats, though officials said more than 75,000 fans attended, bringing water bottles to stay hydrated.

Bowlers also took regular drinks on the field between overs.

Most of northern India has been under government heatwave alerts, with New Delhi recording 47.4 degrees Celsius.

Starc struck with the second ball of the match, bowling fellow Australian Travis Head for a second consecutive duck.

Starc’s twin strikes in his third over rattled the opposition as he dismissed Nitish Kumar Reddy and Shahbaz Ahmed with successive balls, reducing Hyderabad to 39-4 in five overs.

Rahul Tripathi, scoring 55, and Heinrich Klaasen, scoring 32, fought back with a stand of 62 before Varun Chakravarthy dismissed Klaasen with his spin.

“I think the way every bowler stood up to this occasion, the way they came in and took wickets, that was imperative,” said Shreyas about his team’s bowling.

“The attitude and approach of all bowlers was to take wickets and they did. When you have a variety in the bowling line-up, it’s mesmerising.”

Tripathi was run out, and wickets continued to fall before Cummins boosted the total with his 24-ball 30.

In reply, Rahmanullah Gurbaz gave Kolkata a strong start with 23 off 14 balls, and fellow opener Sunil Narine made 21 before being dismissed by Cummins.

Venkatesh, a left-hand batsman, continued the charge in an unbeaten stand of 97 with Shreyas, who finished the game with a six.

Rajasthan Royals will play Royal Challengers Bengaluru in the eliminator at the same venue on Wednesday.

(AFP)

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