Published On: Fri, Oct 29th, 2021

Morgan Chuffed with Southee’s Seamless Impact

Tim Southee’s inclusion in the KKR eleven was accidental. When Pat Cummins decided not to take part in the second leg of the competition, KKR had to find an adequate replacement. The KKR management decided to call the New Zealand fast bowler who had last played an IPL game in the 2019 season when he featured in only three matches and finished with a less-than-impressive economy rate.

Imagine de Lisa scott de la Pixabay

Southee Not the Most Preferred NZ Player

Southee was, however, not the most preferred among the New Zealand players in the IPL. His NZ teammate Lockie Ferguson was preferred to Southee at the start of the second leg and made an immediate impact. KKR, who came into the second phase of the competition with 5 losses from 7 matches, began well in the UAE before an injury to Andre Russell in their game against CSK threw a spanner in the works. Morgan had to find a replacement who could bat and bowl.

Second Lease of Life in IPL

That was the cue for Southee to get another lease of life in the IPL, a competition that had not seen him at his best. After a first call to the KKR eleven versus Delhi Capitals, the Kiwi paceman took 1/29 while helping his team to a famous win. As things transpired, he became a constant in the first eleven following an injury sustained by Ferguson.

Contribution to Win Over SRH

With a match against SRH — arguably the weakest team this season — looming, KKR were aware that a win would help cement the fourth spot in the points table. Yet, it was a risky game in which the pressure to qualify for the playoffs could see KKR’s plans unravel quickly. But Southee had other plans. In the very first over of the game in which SRH batted first, Southee surprised Wriddhiman Saha with an in-swinger. KKR’s spin trio of Narine, Chakravarthy, and Shakib built on that start and took charge in the middle overs. But in a low-scoring game on a sluggish surface, there was always the danger of a late cameo from an SRH batsman that could take the game away from Morgan’s wards. 

Abdul Samad was the perfect candidate for such a cameo and after he had apparently got used to the wicket, he waded into Varun in the 17th over. Morgan promptly handed the ball to Southee for the 18th over. Samad who was looking to lift the ball for a straight six was flummoxed by a slower ball from Southee and ended up mistiming the ball into the hands of the long on fielder. The narrow margin of KKR’s eventual win underscored the importance of that wicket. 

Morgan Praises Southee

In a post-match press conference, Morgan was full of praise for the New Zealand fast bowler.

“Tim’s obviously had a huge impact in the side. When you miss two or three big gun players – we miss Pat, we miss Lockie, and obviously Dre has been missing as well. His contribution with the ball in this phase has been brilliant. It’s one thing contributing throughout a campaign, but I think, when you look at actually when you need players to stand up, senior players to be able to do that… Tim has done that brilliantly.”

“He’s come in seamlessly, showing a lot of experience. He’s done it for a very long time for the Blackcaps. He’s obviously one of their top-class bowlers in all formats of the game so it is great to see that in a KKR shirt.”

Southee Helps KKR up the Points Table

Despite being beset by injuries to key players, KKR continued their upward journey through the points table. Even as their medical team worked 24×7 to get Ferguson and Russell back to match fitness, Southee was looking forward to the next game. After two great showings in three matches, Southee allowed Russell and Ferguson a little more leeway in terms of time to return to match fitness. KKR looked keen to battle it out in a must-win game versus Rajasthan Royals on October 7.

Author: Trycia Marks

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