Starc credits ‘incredible’ Hazlewood for helping assert Australia’s powerplay dominance

Starc credits 'incredible' Hazlewood for helping assert Australia's powerplay dominance

Australia’s new-ball pitching in unexpectedly useful conditions and the batting of their openers made the difference in a tense semi-final. Mitchell Starc, who took the first wicket of the match and finished with outstanding figures of 3 for 34, said this, having also been in the middle when the winning runs were scored.
Although it has been a tough tournament for bowler Starc, he and Josh Hazlewood reduced South Africa’s top order to 24 for 4 in the first 12 overs and took five wickets between them. Although the match would have many dramatic moments afterwards, this period probably proved to be the most decisive.

“I think our power play was probably what got us going,” Starc said. “There were other key moments throughout the day with bat and ball, but starting the game like that with Joshie and I was great. Powerplay wickets probably haven’t been our forte throughout the tournament, so it’s good having a powerplay of what, 2 for 18 or something. The way Josh bowled to finish two for 12 (from eight overs) was incredible.

“Looking at Josh’s bowling map, that’s what he does so well in Test bowling. He was incredible today and the way we played off each other to have that power play that we did and bring some momentum to the midfielders.” overs was the way “I want to start the matches. So it was nice to do it in an important game.”

In the league match these teams played, Quinton de Kock had made a century as an opener, and South Africa scored 311 for 7, with Aiden Markram also adding a quick fifty. However, neither de Kock nor Markram could make much of an impact with the bat in the semi-final.

“We know South Africa are very strong at the back if they have wickets in hand and if we can get David Miller and Heinrich Klaassen early or within the first 20 overs then we are on the right track. It makes it a little bit more difficult. for them to spike the ball. So today everything went as planned with the ball.”

Later with the bat, Australia raced to 60 in six overs, as David Warner hit 29 off 18 balls, and Travis Head scored 62 off 48, with Australia chasing 213.

“I think the way not only Trav but Davey batted put direct pressure on South Africa in the first 10 overs. We have seen throughout the tournament how difficult the first 10 overs can be at certain times of the day, with the new balls and tough. When you’re willing to approach the game that way and sometimes you need a bit of luck, but the guys were fantastic in that initial partnership.”

Head’s innings in particular ensured that Australia had managed 106 runs, almost half the runs required, in the first 14 overs. South Africa’s spinners would then take wickets and make the game tighter, but Australia’s middle and lower orders were left with little to do.

“Then Trav held on a little longer and probably looked a little sinister not to go further, closer to 100,” Starc said. “It certainly took some pressure off us at the beginning with the way the guys started. Those runs were much needed the way we saw the end of the game. It gave us a little extra time to not have to try as hard at the end. “