Starc’s day goes from breakfast sledge to wonder ball

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Mitchell Starc’s day started with a sledge over breakfast and finished with him having notched another entry in his World Cup hall of fame with a delivery for the ages to castle Ben Stokes.

Hours before Starc speared the swinging yorker under Stokes’ bat, to remove England’s last hope of chasing down Australia’s total, he had his morning briefly interrupted at the team hotel by a guest who had a few words to share about some strapping on his elbow and his choice of food: three poached eggs.

WATCH on Hotstar (India only) – England’s wickets

Starc’s wife, Alyssa Healy, mentioned the breakfast chat on Twitter – thanking the person in question, later confirmed to be English, for firing him up – and Starc laughed it off after the match as all “good fun” saying he was “still half-asleep” when it happened.

“Someone was having a go at my strapping tape and having a go at my bowling,” he said. “I was just hungry. He was just having a laugh at my strapping tape and what I was eating. It’s all been good fun throughout the tour around the crowds and at the hotel. It’s just part and parcel of a World Cup.”

High fives to the English bloke who fired up Mitch with some banter at breaky….. onya legend!!

— Alyssa Healy (@ahealy77) June 25, 2019

It was no surprise that Starc was in jovial mood having bagged 4 for 43 to take his World Cup haul to 19 wickets at 18.26 and a strike-rate of 20.4. He is now eighth on the list of World Cup wicket-takers with 41 wickets in just 15 matches at an average of 13.92, comfortably ahead of those above him in the list, and won’t have bowled many better deliveries than the ball to remove Stokes four years after the pair had been involved in Stokes’ obstructing the field dismissal on this ground.

“We had a bit of a laugh that I think the last time we played one another at this ground was that one that came back at him,” Starc said. “He’s a fantastic player and he’s one of their key batters. Watching that game against Sri Lanka, he nearly got them home there with that 80-odd he scored. We knew while he was batting that we couldn’t just rest up, we couldn’t cruise. We had to try and take that wicket [and] fortunately got one through the gate but he was batting fantastically well today.

“I’ve got a pretty simple one-day plan and it’s all about execution. To execute that ball exactly how I wanted to was pleasing for me, but just pleasing to get the result.”

Australia are now safely in the semi-finals with two group games remaining, the next of which is on Saturday against local rivals New Zealand who are unbeaten in the tournament.

“They are playing some fantastic cricket, they have really gone under the radar,” Starc said. “No one has spoken too much about them and they keep winning games. They’ve got a strong side batting and bowling, Kane Williamson is their linchpin in the middle there and they’ve got bowlers who swing the ball.

“It’s another big game for us, obviously we have cemented our spot in the semis now, we want to try and finish as high as we can and play some really good cricket headed towards the finals series. They’re very important for us.”