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Stats Analysis

Mitchell Starc - World Cup star, lower-order nightmare

Stats highlights of Mitchell Starc's ODI career, after becoming the fastest to reach the 200-wicket milestone

Mitchell Starc took his 200th ODI wicket in the third ODI against Zimbabwe  •  Getty Images

Mitchell Starc took his 200th ODI wicket in the third ODI against Zimbabwe  •  Getty Images

Australia fast bowler Mitchell Starc has played only 102 ODIs in a career spanning 12 years but he has broken several records in the format. On Saturday, Starc became the fastest to 200 ODI wickets, breaking the record held by former Pakistan offspinner Saqlain Mushtaq, who got there in 104 matches. Starc is also the fastest to 200 ODI wickets in terms of balls bowled (5240).
Breaking records despite frequent absences
In 2016 and 2019, Starc had also broken Saqlain's records to become the fastest to 100 and 150 ODI wickets. Rashid Khan improved on Starc's sprint to 100 ODI wickets in 2018, but he still holds the 150-wicket record. Since Starc's debut in October 2010, only one bowler has picked up more ODI wickets - Lasith Malinga, with 232 wickets in 154 matches. A few other bowlers have played roughly the same number of matches as Starc during this period, but none have come close to his tally.
Among the 38 bowlers to take 200-plus wickets in men's ODIs, Starc's average of 22.31 is the fourth best, while his strike rate of 26.2 is by far the best. Starc has taken four or more wickets in an innings 19 times, including eight five-fors in his relatively brief career, ranking in the top five on both lists.
Staying in form
Despite not playing ODIs regularly, Starc has rarely struggled for form. Since his debut in 2010, Starc has played only 45.9 % of Australia's ODIs, missing 118 out of 222 matches. Starc has never gone more than two matches in a row without picking up a wicket.
Starc's rare dry patch in ODIs came in 2020, when he played 11 matches on either side of the pandemic break, taking only 12 wickets at an average of 51.7. Starc's longest streak without a haul of four or more wickets is 24 matches, between 2015 and 2017. During this period, Starc still took 44 wickets at an average of 22 and went wicketless in only two games.
Revelling in World Cup spotlight
The highlights of Starc's ODI career are his World Cup performances: he was the highest wicket-taker in both the 2015 (22 wickets) and 2019 tournaments. His 27 wickets in 2019 are the most for a bowler in a single World Cup. Overall, Starc's 49 wickets at the World Cup have come at an average of 14.61 and strike rate of 19.1.
Starc has taken at least one wicket in all his World Cup matches and at least two wickets in 15 games. He has six four-plus wicket hauls in the competition, including three five-fors, the most by any bowler. He is already joint fifth in the list of leading wicket-takers in the ODI World Cup and those ahead of him have all played in at least four tournaments.
Dismissing batters cheaply
One of the features of Starc's ODI career is his ability to dismiss batters early in their innings: 112 of his 200 ODI scalps have been of batters in single digits, including 44 ducks.
Running through the tail
Though Starc has never taken a hat-trick in his ODI career, he has had back-to-back wickets on 13 occasions. No one else has been on a hat-trick in ODIs more often since Starc's debut. Eight of the 13 instances came after the opposition was five down, indicating Starc's ability to run through the lower-middle order and tail. Starc has taken 56 wickets of the bottom four batters at an average of 9.41, the third best for any bowler since his debut (min 25 wickets).

Sampath Bandarupalli is a statistician at ESPNcricinfo