India v Australia: Mitchell Starc out to embrace 'big occasion' and help fire Australia to sixth World Cup title
Former Yorkshire pace bowler Starc played his part, too, claiming 3-34 while also seeing his team home in the run chase alongside captain Pat Cummins, the Australians getting home with 22 balls to spare.
Starc, 33, set the tone in what was a low-scoring game – South Africa were bowled out for 212 in their 50 overs – by removing Proteas captain Temba Bavuma in the first over.
He then dismissed Aiden Markram as he and Josh Hazlewood reduced the Proteas to 24-4.
Australia now have a chance to win a sixth World Cup, although the intensity will be at fever pitch when they take on undefeated favourites India at the Narendra Modi Stadium, with up to 100,000 locals ready to roar the hosts on.
India won by six wickets when the two teams met at the start of the group stage but Sunday’s final is an occasion – however daunting – that Starc insists he and his team-mates are determined to embrace.
“It’s why we play the game,” said Starc. “We want to take on the best. They've been the best team in the tournament so far and we both find ourselves in the final.
“That's what World Cups are about. You want to take on the best throughout and we are certainly going to come up against a team that have obviously led from the front through the tournament – they are undefeated.
“We played them in our first game of the tournament, now we get to take them on in the last. So yeah, what a place to be at the end of a World Cup.
“Certainly, guys in both changing rooms have been there before at different formats. Both teams played each other in the (World Test Championship) Final earlier in the year (which Australia won at The Oval in London).
"I don't think either changing room is new to big occasions. It's going to be loud and there is going to be a lot of passion there.
“It's going to be a fantastic occasion and no doubt there's going to be different amounts of pressure at different times on both teams.
“But it's just going to be a great spectacle of cricket. And certainly, everyone in our changing room is looking forward to it.”
Starc – who played for Yorkshire in 2012 – is gunning for his second World Cup winner’s medal, having played a pivotal role in the final win over New Zealand in 2015.
This time it was his first-over dismissal of Black Caps opener and captain Brendon McCullum for a duck that set the tone for the entire game, the Australians eventually winning by seven wickets with more than 16 overs to spare.
It was a tougher chase against South Africa on Thursday but Starc was pleased to make a significant contribution alongside new-ball partner Hazlewood, who finished with remarkable figures of 2-12 from eight overs.
“It’s probably not been the tournament I would have liked from the get-go, but it’s nice to step up in a big game," added Starc. "And I think our powerplay was probably what got us on our way.
“There were other key moments through the day with bat and ball. But to start the game like that with Joshie and I, powerplay wickets have probably not been our strong suit through the tournament so it was nice to have a powerplay of 2-18, or something like that.”