The thirteenth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) was full of excitement and thrill. It was one of the most highly competitive tournaments in the history of the league and we saw some shocking events throughout the season. However, at the end of the tournament, the Mumbai Indians emerged as the winner and the Delhi Capitals managed to reach the final for the very first time.
Well, there were some unexpected returns in the tournament too! The Chennai Super Kings lost most of their matches but they won three matches on the trot to gain some momentum going into the 2021 auction. The Royal Challengers Bangalore managed to sneak into the playoffs but were kicked out by a David Warner inspired Sunrisers Hyderabad. Speaking of Rajasthan Royals, they only managed to find the last spot in the points table.
Last season was full of surprises and excitement. But, one team managed to become the kernel of excitement for the fans. The team was Kings XI Punjab. Double super overs, consecutive wins, and many more exciting moments enabled Punjab to become the most entertaining team of the season. Well, they have released a few overseas slots.
In this article, let us have a look at the 5 players KXIP can target to fill their overseas slots in IPL 2021 Auction:
1. Chris Morris
Well, most of the IPL fans might be unaware of the name of Hardus Viljoen. He is a skiddy hit-the-deck pacer and his consistent performances in the domestic tournaments enabled him to make it to the national squad. Adding on, he made it to the auction of the lucrative IPL and was bagged by the Kings XI Punjab. A relatively unknown face figure for Viljoen meant that he was bought for his base price of INR 75 lakhs.
During the 2019 season, he had an economy rate of 9.5 and people were unsure about his position in the Punjab squad. But, the management decided to retain him for the thirteenth season of the IPL. In his IPL career, he has taken only seven wickets and was of very little use for KL Rahul and Co. Therefore, this year, the management has decided to let him go.
This means there is a vacancy for an overseas player in the Punjab squad. Currently, with a plethora of options available, Chris Morris looks like the perfect option for the Kings XI Punjab. His all-round abilities can be fully used by a team that lacks genuine overseas all-rounders. Morris has a strike rate of 157.87 and an economy rate of 7.81. Therefore both with the bat and the ball, he has excellent figures. Hence, Morris is the perfect replacement for Viljoen.
2. Marnus Labuschagne
Jimmy Neesham belongs to the group of players who have fueled the rise of New Zealand cricket for the last five years. The Kiwi all-rounder has been exceptional for the Blackcaps as he has scored 1286 runs in 63 matches. Well, the stats do not speak about his ability to dominate in the death overs. For most of his career, Neesham has played in tough batting conditions. Talking about his bowling, he has taken 61 wickets in 63 matches with an economy rate of 6.14.
As we speak of the shortest format of the game, Neesham has played in 24 T20I games and hits the ball with an impressive strike rate of 147.9. However, he has not been impactful for his franchise Kings XI Punjab. Last year, he had the highest score of only 10 with a strike rate of 105.55. Talking about his bowling, he had an economy rate of 9.95, which is not acceptable in tough leagues like the IPL.
The perfect replacement for someone like Neesham would be a batting allrounder. Recently, Marnus Labuschagne had taken a few vital wickets for the Brisbane Heat during the BBL. His batting is of supreme level and he can play the role of the anchor in case of a batting unit collapse. Therefore Marnus Labuschange is the perfect replacement for Jimmy Neesham.
3. Moeen Ali
The concept of mystery spinners has been in the air since the shortest format of the game was introduced in the cricketing world. Amongst the mystery spinners, Sunil Narine and Rashid Khan made a name for themselves thanks to their stellar performance in the Indian Premier League over the years. Well, Afghanistan cricket has been growing and is rising through the ranks and one of the major contributors to this pump in the growth of talent from a war-torn country is Mujeeb ur Rahman.
Mujeeb was drafted into the Kings XI Punjab squad during the 2018 season of the IPL. That year, he had a brilliant season as he took 14 wickets with an economy rate of only 6.99. However, he could not maintain his reputation as a mystery spinner. In 2019 and 2020, Mujeeb had an economy rate of 10.05 and 10.37 respectively. This shows that he was not properly used by the franchise.
This year, the management has decided to release Mujeeb from their squad. This has created a void in their team. Well, if we have a look at the cricketers present all-around, Moeen Ali is the best name available. Moeen has played in 19 IPL matches and has a tremendous strike rate of 158.46. Talking about his bowling, he has an economy rate of 7.14. Well, it looks like the RCB management has made a mistake of letting him go and KXIP can cash in their money on this veteran!
4. Sheldon Cottrell
Sheldon Cottrell is one of the finest fast bowlers for the West Indies team. His pace and ability to swing the ball both ways have enabled him to become successful at the international level. He can bowl during the powerplay and late in the death overs. However, he had a poor IPL season last year, as he could not make it into the playing eleven for most of the season. As a result, the management has decided that they should release the West Indies pacer.
Cottrell has a superb T20I record. In 30 T20I matches, he has taken 37 wickets with the best bowling figure of 4/28. Apart from that, an economic rate of 7.9 speaks about his ability to remain calm under pressure. Well, this does not happen very often as he was smashed by Rahul Tewatia during the penultimate over of a thriller game!
As there is a space in the KXIP squad for an overseas pacer, the best option for them will be Cottrell. On his day, Cottrell can turn the game upside down. He can be a valuable addition to the KXIP squad.
1. Aaron Finch
The last season of the Indian Premier League was a horrible one for Glenn Maxwell. Of the 106 balls he faced, he managed to score only 108 runs! Yes, you have read that right! The Australian all-rounder’s performance hampered Kings XI Punjab’s chances as they were not able to gain from his presence. Last year, he was more useful with the ball as he had an economy rate of 8.04, which is quite good for a spinner in this format.
Most of the franchise might look for a consistent player. Well, Maxwell was not consistent for Punjab and hence, they have released him ahead of the 2021 IPL auction. This leaves a big void in the squad as the ‘Big Show’ was one of the most impactful players for the men in pink over the years. If Maxwell goes big this year, the Punjab management might regret their decision!
To fill the void left by Maxwell, the Punjab management should look forward to including Aaron Finch in their squad. The Australian limited-overs captain is one of the most prolific strikers of the cricket ball. In the T20Is, he has a strike rate of 154.05 with the highest score of 172. Under his leadership, Australian cricket made an impact in the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup by reaching the semi-finals. Finch’s presence might help KL Rahul during tough decisions too! Therefore, Finch is the perfect replacement for Maxwell!
Source: The source of this content is our cricket news platform Crictracker.
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