Mitchell Starc-inspired KKR dismiss SRH for 159 in Qualifier 1

Sunrisers Hyderabad's Shahbaz Ahmed is bowled out by Kolkata Knight Riders player Mitchell Starc during the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 T20 cricket match between Kolkata Knight Riders and Sunrisers Hyderabad at the Narendra Modi Stadium, in Ahmedabad, Tuesday, May 21, 2024.
Sunrisers Hyderabad's Shahbaz Ahmed is bowled out by Kolkata Knight Riders player Mitchell Starc during the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 T20 cricket match between Kolkata Knight Riders and Sunrisers Hyderabad at the Narendra Modi Stadium, in Ahmedabad, Tuesday, May 21, 2024.

Ahmedabad | IPL’s costliest buy Mitchell Starc lived up to the billing with a sensational three-wicket early burst as Kolkata Knight Riders shot Sunrisers Hyderabad for a below-par 159 in Qualifier 1 here on Tuesday.

Starc found delivered a body blow on the second ball of the game by rattling Travis Head’s stumps before accounting for the in-form Nitish Reddy (9) and Shahbaz Ahmed (0) to leave the opponents reeling inside the powerplay.

IPL’s third highest run-getter Head was all over the place when he went for a wild heave against the lanky Australian, who got the ball nipping slightly away after pitching and knocking down the off and middle stumps to dismiss the batter for his second consecutive duck.

Starc then bounced out Reddy with wicketkeeper Rahmanullah Gurbaz settling himself well under the ball for a simple grab.

Shahbaz was the next to depart as he chopped one onto his wickets looking to guide it down to the third man.

Starc’s opening spell of 3-0-22-3 gave KKR complete control of the proceedings as the other bowlers thrived in the situation to drive home the advantage.

Reduced to 39/3, SRH needed a counterattack and that came from Rahul Tripathi (55 off 35) but it was far from enough.

Tripathi soaked in pressure well to keep the boundaries flowing for SRH but he did not find enough support from the other end, beyond a 62-run stand for the fifth wicket with Heinrich Klaasen.

The burly South African, who had scored a vital 49 in the last match, did not go all out but played a crucial knock of 32, which came off 21 balls with three fours and a six until he found the man at deep midwicket off Varun Chakravarthy in the 11th over.

Facing the task of rebuilding again, there was no respite for the struggles that SRH had to endure when Tripathi was run out after a brilliant effort in the field from Andre Russell caught the SRH batter halfway through the pitch when there was perhaps no run on offer.

Abdul Samad hammered a six off his first ball but his resistance too did not last long enough and the last of the recognised SRH batters, impact player Sanvir Singh, was cleaned up by Sunil Narine (1/40) on the first ball he faced.

SRH skipper Pat Cummins played a crucial knock of 30 off 24 while also putting on a vital 33-run stand for the last wicket with Vijayakanth Viyaskanth to take SRH beyond the 150-mark.

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