Starc credits powerplay start, Hazlewood for paving Australiaís way to title clash

by IANS |

Kolkata, Nov 17 (IANS) Australia's left-arm pacer Mitchell Starc, who claimed 3-34 in the three-wicket semi-final win over South Africa, feels that the terrific start the five-time champions got in first ten overs along with Josh Hazlewood, helped pave the team’s path to the title clash against India at the Narendra Modi Stadium on Sunday.

"I think our powerplay was probably what got us on our way. There were other key moments through the day with bat and ball, but to start the game like that with Joshie and I was great.”

“Powerplay wickets have probably not been our strong suit through the tournament, so it's nice to have a powerplay of what, 2 for 18 or something like that. The way Josh bowled throughout to finish two for 12 (from eight overs) was incredible," said Starc in the post-match press conference.

Starc and Hazlewood got the ball to move both ways under overcast skies and reduced South Africa to 24/4 in the first 12 overs, which would prove to be decisive in their quest to win the knockout match at the Eden Gardens.

"Looking at Josh's pitch map - that's what he does so well in Test match bowling. He was incredible today and the way we run off each other to have that powerplay that we did, and carry some momentum through to the middle overs was how we want to start matches. So it was nice to do it in a big game," he added.

Both Starc and Hazlewood will have a huge part to play if Australia are to overcome India, currently the lone unbeaten side in the competition, in Sunday’s final. India’s top three of Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill and Virat Kohli, along with middle-order batters Shreyas Iyer and KL Rahul have been amongst runs in the campaign so far.

“It’s why we play the game. We want to take on the best. They've been the best in the tournament so far and we both find ourselves in the final. That's what World Cups are about.”

“You want to take on the best throughout and we certainly come up against a team that have obviously led from the front through the tournament and they're undefeated. We played them in the first game of the tournament (when India won by six wickets), now we get to take them on in the last. So, what a place to be at the end of a World Cup!”

Australia and India had previously played in 2003 World Cup final, as well as in this year’s World Test Championship final at The Oval in June, where the former emerged victorious on both occasions.

“Certainly, guys in both changing rooms have been there before at different formats. Both teams played each other in the (World Test Championship) Final earlier in the year (which Australia won at The Oval in London). I don't think either changing room is new to big occasions.”

“It's certainly going to be a big occasion in a World Cup Final in India. It's going to be loud. There's going to be a lot of passion there. It's going to be a fantastic occasion and no doubt there's going to be different amounts of pressure at different times on both teams.”

“But, I think it's just going to be a great spectacle of cricket. And certainly, everyone in our changing room is looking forward to the occasion," concluded Starc.

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