Starc finally lives up to top IPL billing in Kolkata

It cannot have been easy for Mitchell Starc to try to live up to being the biggest-money buy in the history of the Indian Premier League.

But after a tough time at the start of his spell with Kolkata Knight Riders, the 4.43 million dollar man finally looked the part on Sunday as his fine three-wicket performance set the home side on their way to a handsome eight-wicket win over Justin Langer-coached Lucknow Super Giants.

In front of his expectant home fans at Eden Gardens, the evergreen pacer, who had been going at 11 an over in his first four matches while taking just two wickets, started off dodgily again, being hit for boundaries off his first two full-length deliveries by Quinton de Kock and conceding 10 off the over.

But he rebounded strongly, getting Deepak Hooda caught brilliantly at point by Ramandeep Singh in his third over at the top of the innings before returning with some brilliant death bowling in the 20th over.

First ball in that final over, he got the ever-dangerous Nicolas Pooran caught behind for 45 off a widish one and then conceded just six more off the over - only because of one fluky boundary - before a swinging final-delivery yorker castled impact player Arshad Khan.

His figures of 3-28 did much to keep Lucknow down to 7-161, a target that proved easy meat with young Mayank Yadav, Langer's new but now not-so-secret pace weapon, not back from injury.

English opener Phil Salt blasted an unbeaten 89 off just 47 balls, joining forces with captain Shreyas Iyer (a run-a-ball 38no) for KKR to win with 4.2 overs to spare.

Starc was delighted to have turned a corner, smiling: "Nice to contribute, to make an impact. We were pretty good throughout the innings, generally pretty good with the ball."

After those first two balls had gone for boundaries, he changed tack. "The way I've gone about it for a long time is to pitch it up and swing it but very quickly, you learn on this wicket it's probably not the way to go about it, you just have to bring that length back. 

"We just pulled back a little bit, let the wicket do what it did and and sort of settled into that half-length."

Asked whether he'd rather be toiling out there on a baking day in Kolkata or playing golf, Starc smiled: "Golf every day of the week if I could - but it was nice to have an impact with the ball today and, yeah, we'll get to a bit of golf in at Royal Calcutta through the next couple of weeks, I'm sure."

In the later match in Mumbai, MS Dhoni conjured up some of his old finishing magic, smacking 20 off four balls with three glorious sixes to end Chennai Super Kings' innings on 4-206.

Fittingly, those 20 runs proved to be Chennai's margin of victory as the Mumbai Indians fell short on 6-186 despite a glorious unbeaten 105 from Rohit Sharma. 

Australian Tim David couldn't help them this time either, his brisk cameo ending with him falling for 13 off five balls.

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