posted on 2019-06-28 20:00:01
posted by Sahil Jain
Mitchell Starc was a white-ball beast. There was absolutely no question about it. However, in the lead-up to this 2019 World Cup, the left-arm fast bowler barely played any white-ball cricket. In all, he played a grand total of seven ODI games in 2018 and none in 2019.
His form, fitness, and the ability to still deliver under tough circumstances were all under the scanner. There was absolutely no doubt that Starc could do it but they were all valid concerns. And here we are with Starc smashing all those concerns and emerging as the leading wicket-taker in this World Cup.
Remember, he was the leading wicket-taker back in the 2015 edition as well. He played a key role in Australia’s title win. He’s playing a key role yet again.
Be it at the top with the new ball or at the death, Starc has been absolutely lethal in this tournament. 19 wickets, an average of 18.26 and a strike-rate of 20.4. These are fabulous numbers. He is replicating his 2015 performance. Every time Australia need a wicket, Starc is summoned. It was the same back then as well. He was Michael Clarke’s go-to man and now, he is Aaron Finch’s go-to man.
Some of his performances in this World Cup have come when Australia needed it the most. Take the five-wicket haul against the West Indies. They were going well in their chase of 289 but Starc proved to be the difference. He got the big wickets of Chris Gayle, Andre Russell, Carlos Braithwaite and Jason Holder. Every time, it seemed like Windies would get away, Starc was there picking up a wicket.
He triggered Sri Lanka’s slide. They were going really well until he came about and picked up the first wicket and eventually finished with a four-fer. He consistently picked wickets in other games as well and then came the lethal opening burst against England. Starc swung the ball beautifully troubling the England batsmen. He nipped out Joe Root with a fast indipper and then the England skipper Eoin Morgan with a pacy bumper.
And then towards the back end, the yorker to knock over Ben Stokes is perhaps the ball of the tournament. He couldn’t have nailed it better and that wicket sealed the game for Australia. Hence, whenever needed Starc has always stepped up, just like the 2015 World Cup.
He has played a massive part in Australia becoming the first team to book a semi-final spot. They play New Zealand next, one of Starc’s favourite oppositions.
Everybody knows what he did in the 2015 World Cup against the Kiwis. His 6/28 almost pulled off a miraculous win for the Aussies in the group stage and in the final, he dashed their hopes by knocking over Brendon McCullum in the very first over. Overall, Starc has 18 wickets in eight games against New Zealand. There’s been only one instance of him going wicketless against the Kiwis.
Moreover, Starc just loves the World Cup. He has already picked up 41 wickets in a mere 15 games. He is 8th on the list of most wickets in World Cup cricket. And each of the bowlers placed above Starc have played at least 23 games. Also, he has the best average and the second-best strike-rate in the history of World Cup cricket.
Thus, Starc has been lethal and supremely consistent for Australia in World Cups. He continues to be the key for the defending champions as they look to strengthen their position at the top of the table.