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$4.43m starc under pressure amid wicketless IPL run

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$4.43m starc under pressure amid wicketless IPL run

Mitchell Starc’s difficult return to the Indian Premier League continued with his third wicketless outing in four matches, and this time his Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) team lost.

KKR’s first defeat in this IPL campaign was a complete one, beaten by seven wickets by Chennai Super Kings at their fortress MA Chidambaram Stadium with more than two overs to spare.

After Ravindra Jadeja (3-18) squeezed KKR’s batting line-up, restricting them to 9-137, Shreyas Iyer top-scored with 34, Kolkata needed their $4.43 million star recruit to get them back into the game.

Starc started well enough, conceding four runs when he opened the bowling, but his second over was for 15, with Rachin Ravindra (15 for eight) hitting three fours.

Ruturaj Gaikwad (67 not out off 58 balls) and Daryl Mitchell (25 off 19) then took the home team to 1-97 before Sunil Narine made the breakthrough, bowling the New Zealander with a well-disguised break.

With the door ajar, Iyer brought back Starc, hoping the left-arm spinner would fight his way through it and achieve a comeback victory.

However, both Gaikwad and impact substitute Shivam Dube (28 off 18) scored four while Starc scored 10. That left 29 needed off 36 balls and the match was done.

Starc finished with 0-29 in his three overs. He has now conceded 154 runs in 16 overs, a strike rate of almost ten per over, for two wickets. That was David Warner and Mitch Marsh, so he might need to bowl against the Aussies more often.

KKR’s next opponents, Lucknow Super Giants on April 14, have Marcus Stoinis and Ashton Turner in their ranks, but Stoinis bats in the middle order and Turner is yet to play. Quinton de Kock and his fellow opener KL Rahul are the men Iyer wants Starc to knock down.

Both batsmen will be aware that they are not ruling out a bowler of Starc’s enduring class, but the pressure will be on the Australian great, the most expensive player in the competition’s history, to deliver.

However, even if he doesn’t, KKR will keep the faith. There are almost seven weeks left in the IPL and Starc has a habit of activating it when necessary.

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