Starc the ‘X factor’ for Australia’s World Cup campaign, says Marsh

Australia’s Twenty20 World Cup captain Mitchell Marsh has labelled Mitchell Starc the team’s X-factor after the big left-arm paceman bowled Kolkata Knight Riders to the IPL title in Chennai on Monday morning (AEST).

Starc was spectacular in the final, taking 2-14 including a wicket during the first over which angled into the left-handed Abhishek Sharma then left him off the pitch to hit the top of off stump.

“He’s done that many times throughout his career” Marsh said after training in Trinidad with the early arrivals for Australia’s T20 World Cup campaign.

“He’s a world-class bowler. He’s so important for the mark-up of our team. We’ve seen so many times in his career in the big moments, the big games, he gets crucial wickets for us.

“We feel lucky as a team… we know that Starcy is the X-factor, and you see throughout Twenty20 cricket these days it’s the X factor players who win you games, win you tournaments.”

Starc may be the team’s headline act, but he will be backed by a strong supporting cast. We take a look at how the Australian World Cup players fared in the IPL.

starc the ‘x factor’ for australia’s world cup campaign, says marsh

The Kolkata Knight Riders celebrate their IPL title triumph.

The stars

Mitchell Starc: Playing his first IPL in eight years, Starc had a difficult start to the campaign before claiming 14 wickets for the tournament thanks to a big finish. The final against the Sunrisers was the second time in five days Starc had been named player of the match.

Travis Head: A big weapon for the Sunrisers during the tournament, but bombed in the finals against the Knight Riders, facing just three balls in two matches without scoring. He finished the IPL fourth on the run-scoring list with 567 at an average of 41 and a strike rate of 192.

Pat Cummins: Captaining in the IPL for the first time, Cummins was the best of the Australian bowlers in the tournament with 16 wickets.

starc the ‘x factor’ for australia’s world cup campaign, says marsh

Pat Cummins was the leading Australian bowler in the IPL.

Jack Fraser-McGurk: The swashbuckling 22-year-old may be only a travelling reserve with the World Cup squad, but was the third-highest Australian run-scorer in the IPL as an injury replacement for the Delhi Capitals, with 330 runs from nine games at an average of 37 and the highest strike rate of any regular batsman - 234.

Marcus Stoinis: The veteran allrounder (Lucknow Super Giants) was the second most prolific Australia batsman with 388 runs. He also claimed four wickets.

The steady Aussies

Cameron Green: After a slow start which saw him dropped by Royal Chargers Bengaluru, the tall allrounder had an enterprising finish to the tournament. He made 228 runs at a strike rate of 145 and claimed nine wickets with an economy rate under nine.

Tim David: One of the few bright sparks for the Mumbai Indians, the powerful finisher scored 241 runs with a strike rate of 159.

The strugglers

Glenn Maxwell: His form is a particular concern. Maxwell was playing so badly for the Royal Chargers Bengaluru that he dropped himself at one stage, finishing the tournament with 52 runs in 10 matches at an average of under six.

Matthew Wade: The veteran keeper and finisher is lucky to be in the squad, keeping his place on experience rather than form. He managed just two matches for the Gujarat Titans, scoring four runs.

David Warner: His biggest concern is not modest IPL form but bone bruising in his left hand, which cut short his IPL. While Warner is confident he will be fit for the World Cup, Fraser-McGurk is on standby as a ready replacement. Warner scored 168 runs in eight matches at an average of 21 and strike rate of 134.

Mitchell Marsh: The allrounder has taken longer than expected to recover from a hamstring injury after managing just four games with the Delhi Captials before being ruled out of the tournament. He managed 61 runs and one wicket in four matches and is not expected to bowl until later in the T20 World Cup.

Nathan Ellis: Stuck behind Sam Curran and Kagiso Rabada among the Punjab Kings overseas pacemen, the clever seamer managed just one game, but it was a good one, claiming 1-24 from his four overs.

Starc and Cummins will all return home for a few days before joining the T20 World Cup squad in the West Indies. Travis Head, Glenn Maxwell, Cameron Green and Marcus Stoinis will also be late arrivals, having played most of the IPL.

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