Match Report:


Super Starc's wonder-ball fires Kolkata to IPL title

Cummins and Head-led Sunrisers Hyderabad go down to Knight Riders, whose big-money paceman paid off on the biggest stage

Mitchell Starc saved the best delivery of the Indian Premier League season for its biggest game as the new-ball wizard ended Pat Cummins and Travis Head's dream run in the big dance.

Starc castled Head's opening sidekick Abhishek Sharma with, arguably, an even better ball than the one he bowled to Brendon McCullum in the 2015 World Cup final as his Kolkata Knight Riders lifted the IPL trophy for the third time on Monday morning AEST.

Cummins, the mastermind of Australia's ODI and World Test Championship title wins last year, top scored (with 24 off 19) and dismissed player-of-the-tournament Sunil Narine, but was left with too much to do.

His Sunrisers Hyderabad's paltry total of 113 was never going to be enough as Ventakesh Iyer (52 off 26) and Rahmanullah Gurbaz (39 off 32) made light work of the chase to get Kolkata home with almost half their overs to spare.

Travis Head had a golden duck in the IPL final // AFP/Getty

Head, the standout batter of the IPL's regular season, finished his campaign with his third duck in four innings, this time edging Starc's new-ball partner Vaibhav Arora behind on his first ball.

No left-hander in world cricket would likely have been able to lay bat on Starc's peach to Abishek, a wonder-ball that came out of the hand angled towards leg-stump, swung late to pitch on the line of middle, and then hit off.

Having earnt player-of-the-match honours after adding a pair of outfield catches, Starc's performance was a strong message to T20 World Cup competitors after some expensive IPL outings.

Pancake-flat pitches during the early parts of the tournament left him as one of the least economical bowlers in the IPL but the 34-year-old lived up to every penny of his record A$4.43 deal with irresistible spells in Kolkata's two most important games.

The Aussie quicks share a smile after the match // AFP/Getty

After knocking over Head in Tuesday's qualifying playoff in a three-wicket outing, Starc returned figures of 2-14 in the decider and might have had more if the Sunrisers had not been bowled out before he could bowl his final over.

The paceman's only misstep of the night was dropping a straightforward chance at long-on off Cummins.

"There have been plenty of jokes. A lot has been made of the money," said Starc. "I am older and more experienced now, so that has helped with managing the expectations and leading the attack. We have got an exciting bowling attack ... it's been a lot of fun, it's been great  to learn and see how these guys go about it but full credit to the whole players and staff, it's made my life pretty easy."

Kolkata won by eight wickets in both playoff matches against Hyderabad, underlining their status as the season's undisputed top team.

It marks Starc's third major title in less than a year, having also played key roles in Australia's World Test Championship and ODI World Cup finals.

As did Head, who scored tons in both those matches, and captain Cummins, but the pair had to be content with runners-up medals after each had strong campaigns with the Dan Vettori-coached Hyderabad.

"I thought they bowled fantastically," Cummins said of Kolkata, who also had telling contributions from West Indians Andre Russell (3-19 from 2.3 overs) and Narine (1-16 from four)

"Unfortunately my old mate Starcy turned it on again.

"Obviously not enough tonight, we were totally outplayed, they didn't give us anything. It was a tricky wicket, I think if we'd got 160 we'd have felt like we were in the game, didn't feel like a 200-plus wicket (but) a few extra runs would have given us a chance.

Kolkata Knight Riders win their first IPL title since 2014 // AFP/Getty

"I hadn't worked with many of the (Hyderabad) guys before but it was a real pleasure working with them. A really great squad and the staff was amazing and had a great couple of months.

"We play a lot over here in India but normally in front of a sea of blue, so it was good to have crowd on our side at times."

Cummins, Head and Starc will return to Australia before joining Australia's World Cup squad in Barbados later this week ahead of their first match on June 5 against Oman.

IPL 2024 standings

Matches played
No results
Net Run Rate
Total points
1 Kolkata Knight Riders Kolkata Knight Riders KKR 14 9 3 0 2 1.428 0 20
2 Sunrisers Hyderabad Sunrisers Hyderabad SUN 14 8 5 0 1 0.414 0 17
3 Rajasthan Royals Rajasthan Royals RAJ 14 8 5 0 1 0.273 0 17
4 Royal Challengers Bengaluru Men Royal Challengers Bengaluru Men RCB 14 7 7 0 0 0.459 0 14
5 Chennai Super Kings Chennai Super Kings CSK 14 7 7 0 0 0.392 0 14
6 Delhi Capitals Men Delhi Capitals Men DEL 14 7 7 0 0 -0.377 0 14
7 Lucknow Super Giants Lucknow Super Giants LSG 14 7 7 0 0 -0.667 0 14
8 Gujarat Titans Gujarat Titans GUT 14 5 7 0 2 -1.063 0 12
9 Punjab Kings Punjab Kings KXI 14 5 9 0 0 -0.353 0 10
10 Mumbai Indians Mumbai Indians MI 14 4 10 0 0 -0.318 0 8

M: Matches played

W: Wins

L: Losses

T: Ties

N/R: No results

NRR: Net Run Rate

Ded.: Deductions

PTS: Total points

Australians in IPL 2024

Delhi Capitals: Mitch Marsh (A$1.2m), David Warner (A$1.16m), Jhye Richardson (A$890,000), Jake Fraser-McGurk (A$92,000)

Gujarat Titans: Spencer Johnson (A$1.78m), Matthew Wade (A$446,000)

Kolkata Knight Riders: Mitchell Starc (A$4.43m)

Lucknow Super Giants: Marcus Stoinis (A$1.7m), Ashton Turner (A$178,000)

Mumbai Indians: Tim David (A$1.53m)

Punjab Kings: Nathan Ellis (A$135,000)

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Cameron Green (A$3.15m), Glenn Maxwell (A$2m)

Sunrisers Hyderabad: Pat Cummins (A$3.67m), Travis Head (A$1.2m)

*Prices in AUD, conversions correct at time of auction