Mitchell Starc is three wickets away from breaking the all-time record for the most wickets at a Men’s ICC World Cup after his second five-wicket haul of the tournament.
The NSW Blues left-arm fast bowler claimed the best figures of the 2019 World Cup on Saturday with 5-26 from 9.4 overs in an 86-run win against New Zealand at Lord’s, London.
From just eight matches, Starc now has 24 wickets at the outstanding average of 15.54. Blues and Australian great fast bowler Glenn McGrath took 26 at 13.73 during the 2007 World Cup that Australia won in the Caribbean.
Starc also became the first man to take three five-wicket hauls in World Cups, and is the leading wicket taker in 2019, seven clear of New Zealand quick Lockie Ferguson.
New Zealand was dismissed for 157 in pursuit of 244 for victory in the day-night fixture on Saturday. Australia made 9/243 from its 50 overs.
Former Blues top order batsman Usman Khawaja top-scored with 88 from 129 deliveries. He shared a crucial 107-run partnership with Player of the Match wicketkeeper-batsman Alex Carey (71 from 72) for the sixth wicket.
His 24 scalps betters the 2015 World Cup success Starc enjoyed when he collected 22 wickets at just 10.18, in the Australian triumph, and was named Player of the Tournament.
Starc said passing the milestone of most wickets at a World Cup will not mean much if Australia did not win the trophy.
“I’m just stoked to be playing a part in this group and continue to contribute,” said Starc.
He is the only bowler at the 2019 tournament so far to claim two five-wicket hauls. Starc returned 5-46 in the 15-run win over the West Indies at Trent Bridge.
Targeting the stumps has been a key part of the game plan.
“That fuller length and straighter line for me attacking those stumps is very much part of my game plan.”
The Australian spearhead picked up the vital wicket of New Zealand captain Kane Williamson (40), at Lord’s, who has been the anchor for his country throughout the World Cup.
Williamson had accrued 414 runs from six matches at an average better than 130 leading into the fixture.
One of the five wickets for Starc also included a screamer from Steve Smith at short mid-wicket diving to his right one-handed that dismissed wicketkeeper-batsman Tom Latham (14).
Smith was likewise dismissed by a freak one-handed catch from Martin Guptill at short fine leg, hooking. He departed for 5.
The part-time leg-spin of Smith also returned 1-6 from two overs. He joined Blues paceman Pat Cummins (1-14) and off-spinner Nathan Lyon, 1-36 from 10, in the wickets column.