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Aussies at the IPL: Starc takes four, Stoinis stands up, cool-headed Cummins

Australia's players have again featured heavily in the IPL over the past week as the tournament nears the business end

Alex Malcolm
Alex Malcolm
06-May-2024
As the IPL heads towards the business end of the tournament, a number of Australia's World Cup squad members have been having an impact. Here is how they fared over the past week.

Starc's up and down tournament continues

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Mitchell Starc returned to some form in the past week when he claimed 4 for 33 in Kolkata Knight Riders' win over Mumbai Indians in a low-scoring game at Wankhede. Starc's start with the ball was typical of his tournament so far. He conceded a four and a six before flattening Ishan Kishan's leg stump in the space of three balls. He then returned to bowl the penultimate over of the chase with Mumbai needing 32 off 12. Australia teammate Tim David flicked Starc's first ball for six to reduce the equation to 26 off 11. But Starc then got his execution right. David whacked a wide low full toss to long-off. Next ball Starc delivered another good wide yorker that Piyush Chawla miscued to cover. He then blew out Gerald Coetzee's middle stump with a perfect 141kph yorker to end the match. It's the type of performance that will please Australia's hierarchy ahead of the World Cup.
He downplayed his form in the aftermath claiming the Impact Sub was causing all bowlers to go for runs in the IPL. The comments about the Impact Sub had some merit but they were also a touch disingenuous given Starc is the most expensive of the top 19 wicket-takers in the IPL this season by some margin at an economy rate of 11.37. Most of the IPL's best powerplay and death bowlers have economy rates under 10. He followed that four-wicket haul up with another topsy-turvy powerplay against Lucknow Super Giants on Sunday night. He bowled a good opening over to pick up the wicket of Arshin Kulkarni to set LSG back in the powerplay. But his second over featured a lot of width to Marcus Stoinis who gleefully carved him for three boundaries over the off side.

Stoinis stands tall again

Stoinis' sublime IPL continued with a Player-of-the-Match performance against MI. He again showed his incredible versatility with the ball. He bowled the opening over of the match and conceded just one run off the bat and one wide. He bowled a second over in the powerplay and picked up the crucial wicket of Suryakumar Yadav. He finished with figures of 1 for 19 from three overs as MI only managed to post 144 for 7 with the help of David's 35 not out from 18 balls. Stoinis then controlled the chase superbly with the bat making 62 off 45 at No.3 as LSG chased it down with four wickets and four balls to spare. Stoinis looked in great touch again on Sunday against KKR as he clattered Starc for three boundaries in the powerplay before striking two sixes to race to 36 off 20. But he fell to Andre Russell off his 21st delivery, skying an attempt to hoick him over wide long-on as LSG's chase fell in a heap. Stoinis had earlier had a difficult start with the ball conceding 29 in his only two overs. He was a little unfortunate with his first ball yielding a top edge from Phil Salt that flew over the keeper's head for four. Sunil Narine sliced his last bowl of the first over into green space. But Stoinis' second set of six cost 19 as Narine launched three length slower balls over the rope.

Cummins' captaincy wins praise in final ball thriller

Pat Cummins continued to put on a masterclass with the ball and with his captaincy in the IPL as he steered Sunrisers Hyderabad to a thrilling final ball victory over Rajasthan Royals. He could have made things a lot easier for himself had he held a straightforward catch that Yashasvi Jaiswal offered in the powerplay at mid-off. Jaiswal went on to make 67 off 40 as RR were on track to chase SRH's target of 202. Riyan Parag was also given a life on his way to 77 off 49. But Cummins and T Natarajan pulled the game back by breaking the partnership and taking four key wickets between them. The pair were the only SRH bowlers to concede less than 10 an over. Both went at under 9 per over and Cummins bowled 12 dots including four in the penultimate over of the match when RR only needed 20 off 12. That gave Bhuvneshwar Kumar 12 runs to play with in the last over and he was able to deliver with a wicket off the final ball to clinch the game by one run. Natarajan said Cummins had been incredibly influential on him as skipper and was a key reason why he has been one of the leading wicket-takers in the IPL this season. Earlier in the same game, Travis Head continued his great season with a half-century, although it was his slowest of the tournament at a strike-rate of 131.81.

Maxwell and Green continue their batting malaise

There have been promising signs for Australia's World Cup campaign throughout this IPL. But the batting form of Glenn Maxwell and Cameron Green remain slight areas of concern. Green had shown some signs last week with bat and ball that had coincided with his inclusion in the final 15 for the World Cup. But he and Maxwell missed out again this week as Royal Challengers Bengaluru almost botched the unlosable chase against Gujarat Titans. Green again bowled nicely taking 1 for 28 from his four overs as RCB bowled GT out for 147 in Bengaluru. A blistering innings from skipper Faf du Plessis gave RCB the perfect platform to cruise to victory. They were 103 for 3 in the eighth over when Maxwell walked out for his first bat in the tournament since he effectively dropped himself on form in early April. It was the perfect chance to get some pressure-free time in the middle and notch 20-odd not out with Virat Kohli at the other end. He clipped his first ball for four through midwicket with neat timing after making an unusual pre-delivery movement to open himself up. He then needlessly heaved his third delivery straight to deep square. Green then walked out and sliced a short wide offering from Josh Little to deep third second ball. Kohli fell in the following over as RCB had slumped from 99 for 1 to 117 for 6. But Dinesh Karthik and Swapnil Singh steadied to guide them home. Maxwell has scored 36 runs from 37 balls for the tournament in seven innings at an average of 5.14. Green has at least contributed 112 runs from 89 balls at 18.66 with a 37 not out. Both men would love to find some touch in the final three games.

Alex Malcolm is an associate editor at ESPNcricinfo