"It's going to be nice match-up": Steve Smith on Virat vs Starc contest in RCB-KKR game

BENGALURU: Ahead of clash between Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the Indian Premier League (IPL), former Australia skipper Steve Smith said that the contest between legendary batter Virat Kohli and left-arm seamer Mitchell Starc will be interesting to watch as both players were skilled performers.

The Kolkata-based franchise will lock horns against RCB in their upcoming match in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 at M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on Friday.

Starc has returned to IPL after a long time. This is his first season since 2015 when he represented RCB. Kohli and Starc has never faced-off each other in the cash-rich league so far as his first season (2014) with RCB only.

"I quite like [Starc's] match-up to Virat, the ability to swing the ball back down the line as a lefty. We have seen him [Kohli] get out on a few occasions to Shaheen Afridi, Trent Boult, Mohammad Amir. In the first game against Punjab Kings, Kohli had an opportunity off Sam Curran dropped at slip. So I quite like the left-handed match-up," Smith said on ESPNcricinfo's TimeOut.

Smith said that Starc will try to get outside edge while angling it away in the same manner in which Sam Curran tried in the last match but at much more pace.

"Starcy's going to swing the ball back down the line early on, I'd imagine, and then use the wobble seam to go across him [Kohli], and potentially try and nick him off. It's going to be a good game, and I'm aware Virat would know how Starc's trying to attack him as well whether he tries to potentially come down the track [to] just take the swing out of play [we'll see]. It's going to be interesting to see how he counters it," the 34-year-old added.

Kohli has faced 28 deliveries from Starc in T20I cricket while playing for India. In five battles, Kohli struck Starc for 47 runs without being dismissed. Kohli averages 31.53 against left-arm seamers in T20s, with 52 dismissals.

In the end, Smith said that he's sure that Kohli might have seen has data against Starc and left-arm seamers in the shortest format of the game and will try his best to improve it.

"You obviously learn as you go along, and you understand what players are trying to do to try and get you out. I'm sure he would have seen that [data], and tried to improve on that throughout. So it's going to be a nice match-up," the Sydney-born player concluded.


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