Cricket

Published on June 6th, 2017 | by Suraj Choudhari

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ICC Champions Trophy 2017 – The fiery Mitchell Starc!

Pace bowling is mesmerising to watch, very few things in cricket give immense pleasure like sheer pace does. It’s not easy for a pace bowler to cope-up with the evolving standards and come out in flying colours. It demands precise hard work and precision along with huge dedication. Australia’s Mitchell Starc is undoubtedly the best white ball bowler in contemporary cricket and he had earned this reputation on the basis of some incredible performances. Starc is taller-made for an impactful pace bowler; his lanky height and long strides makes him a threat at the crease.

Australia have a reputation of awe-inspiring fast bowlers and Mitchell Starc belongs to that league. Starc typifies Australian brand of cricket; he is intimidating with the ball and can rip through any batting line-up with his art and guile. Starc’s high-arm action and rare ability to produce toe-crushing yorkers at will stand him out from his imminent peers. Starc has given massive importance to the ICC Champions Trophy, he also opted to pull out from the recently concluded Indian Premier League where he was a key part of the Royal Challengers Bangalore. He was injured mid-way during the India-Australia Test series and has returned to international cricket after a while.

Starc remained wicketless in the first encounter New Zealand, which was an oddity. But bounced back emphatically in Australia’s second game against Bangladesh and scripted numerous records. Starc became the first bowler on this planet to have picked a triple-wicket maiden in the history of the ICC Champions Trophy. Starc cleaned up the Bangladeshi trail with ease as they were dismantled for a mere score of 182. After the first game being interrupted due to rain and ending in no result, Australia needed a win at any cost and Starc ensured he gave his side a big solid chance.

Starc, undoubtedly holds the key to Australia’s success, he was the joint-highest wicket-taker in the 2015 World Cup, which Australia won. This edition will be no different, a lot of Australia’s success will highly depend on the way Starc fares in the tournament. In the contest against Bangladesh, Starc was not getting enough movement or help from the surface in the start. But when he got some, which was also later into the innings, he ran through the tail-enders.

Confronting a pumped and in rhythm, Starc is many batsmen’s nightmare leave alone tail-enders. The fact that Starc uprooted the stumps of all the three tail-enders is a testament to his accuracy and precision. Australia were asked to bowl first, Starc got the better of Tamim Iqbal for 95 and ended Iqbal’s hopes of another ODI ton. A delivery later, Starc delivered what he is known for. He bowled a speedy straight delivery to Mashrafe Mortaza and shattered the timber for a duck.

The tone was set, Rubel Hossain missed this quick one by a mile and was dismissed for a duck. Starc was on the brink of achieving a hat-trick and had already scalped three wickets in the over. Many though Starc will achieve the milestone with Mutafizur Rahman at the crease. It was a wicket taking delivery but luck didn’t favour the canny bowler; it was a perfect Yorker, which beat Mustafizur’s defence but missed the off-stump by a whisker.

Starc did all he can but was unlucky to not have picked the hat-trick but won thousands of hearts and earned accolades with that one fantastic over. Few deliveries later, he got the job done by cleaning up Mehedi Hasan and picked four wickets within a spare of nine deliveries. Starc once again proved why he can be lethal in the death overs and turn the tide with ease. Starc’s spell was a beautiful exhibition of death bowling. He is one bowler, who can pick two wickets out of thin air and turn the game on its head. And this spell was another demonstration of his effectiveness.

Bangladesh lost four wickets for a solitary run and the sole reason for this kind of damage was Starc, such can be the impact of the lanky Australian pacer. Australia had a modest target of 183 to chase, which was no less than a cakewalk considering the kind of batting line-up Australia boast of. But incessant rains robbed them of a much-needed victory.

Australia need to pull up after their both the games ended in no result due to rain. Only two teams will make it to the semi-final and the race in Group A has just tightened up a bit. Australia have just a solitary game left against England, which will be no less than a do-or-die game for them. Although their bowling will gain massive boost and confidence after a convincing performance against Bangladesh but playing against England would be their litmus test.

England have a solid batting line-up and clearly the favourites to win this tournament. If Australia are eyeing to make it to the semi-final, Starc will have to replicate his magical performance with the ball. He has the momentum with him after an incredible performance after a while.

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About the Author

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Suraj Choudhari is a freelance sports journalist. He is an avid follower of the game and played the sport at club level. With a radical understanding about the subtle nuances and intricacies of cricket, he tries to express it through paper and pen.



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