Starc praises Hazlewood for Australia’s powerplay dominance in ICC World Cup 2023

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Australia’s new-ball bowling in unexpectedly helpful 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 at the middle when the winning runs were hit. Though it’s been a difficult tournament for Starc the bowler, 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. “I think our powerplay was probably what got us on our way,” Starc said. “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. 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. In the league match these teams had played, Quinton de Kock had made a century as opener, and South Africa hit 311 for 7, with Aiden Markram also adding a fast fifty. Neither de Kock nor Markram could make a serious impact with the bat in the semi-final, however. “We know that South Africa are very strong at the back end if they’ve got wickets in hand and if we can get David Miller and Heinrich Klaassen in early or within the first 20 overs, then we’re well on our way. It makes it a bit harder for them to back-end it. So, it went to plan with the ball today.” With the bat, later on, Australia raced to 60 in six overs, as David Warner struck 29 off 18 balls, and Travis Head went on to make 62 off 48, with Australia chasing 213. “I think the way not only Trav but also Davey batted put the pressure straight on South Africa there in the first 10 overs. We’ve seen throughout the tournament how tough the first 10 overs can be at certain times of the day, with the hard new balls. When you’re willing to take the game on like that and sometimes you take a little bit of luck with you, but the guys were fantastic in that opening partnership.” Head’s innings in particular, ensured that Australia had hit 106 runs – almost half the runs required – in the first 14 overs. “Then Trav carried through a bit longer and he was probably looking a bit ominous there not to go further – closer to 100,” Starc said. “Certainly took some pressure off early with the way that the guys started. Those runs were much needed with how we saw the back end of the game. It gave ourselves a bit of extra time not to have to go so hard at the end.”

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