As the countdown begins for the resumption of IPL 2021 in UAE, teams are busy working out their strategies for the rest of the season. Punters across the globe have already started following news from the eight camps and eagerly looking forward to the IPL match predictions.
The long 5-month break can work to the advantage of some teams while those who had dominated earlier might see their fortunes change. We had already seen this in the Pakistan Super League earlier this year where the Multan Sultans made a strong turnaround after a poor start to win the title eventually.
In the run-up to the second leg of the IPL, several teams have had to rope in replacements after some of their players have pulled out of the tournament owing to personal reasons and national duties. The tournament which was scheduled to be completed in June had to be postponed midway due to rising Covid-19 cases in India. Kolkata Knight Riders have signed New Zealand fast bowler Tim Southee as a replacement for Pat Cummins who has made himself unavailable for the UAE leg and they would like to do a Multan Sultans in UAE.
Pat Cummins had to pull out of the tournament as the Australian board was reluctant to release him ahead of the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup due to the bio bubble fatigue. The strict restrictions have been affecting cricketers who are often switching from one bubble to another to protect them from the virus. Kane Richardson and Adam Zampa are the other two notable Aussie cricketers who would be missing out in the second league of the season.
It is a godsend opportunity for Southee who hasn’t found any takers in the last two rounds of the auction at the IPL. He has in the past represented four different franchises in the marquee T20 league with his last stint being with the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the 2018 and 19 seasons. He had started with the Chennai Super Kings back in 2011 before representing the Rajasthan Royals and the Mumbai Indians. The Kiwi speedster hasn’t enjoyed much success in this tournament so far picking 28 wickets in 40 appearances so far at a high economy rate of 8.73 and an unimpressive average of 46.17.
The Kolkata Knight Riders have had a poor start to the season and the side has managed to win just two out of the five games they have played. Their bowling attack hasn’t looked the best and the side had relied on Pat Cummins to get them the early wickets with his pace and swing. Tim Southee has big boots to fill in and strengthen the attack for his side. He hasn’t enjoyed the best record in Asia where there is less movement off the surface as compared to New Zealand and needs to bring all his experience to play to do well here.
It will be interesting to see if Southee is able to make an impressive show in the IPL like his Kiwi teammate Trent Boult who has been the spearhead of the attack for the Delhi Capitals.
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