After the IPL 2021 was suspended mid-season back in early May and then moved to the UAE for a September 19 restart, it’s time to consider who will have benefited from the break and who will be licking their wounds…
IPL 2021: Who are the Winners & Losers from the Postponement?
The story of the 2021 IPL so far
So let’s start with a quick recap of what’s happened so far in the 2021 IPL in chronological order.
- BCCI announces that matches will be played in Kolkata, Delhi, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Chennai and Mumbai, with no team playing any home matches.
- Chris Morris is the most expensive player sold at the auction, going to Rajasthan for US$2.3 million.
- RCB beat Mumbai in the opener on April 9 with the winning runs scored off the last ball.
- SRH sack David Warner as captain after an awful start for the franchise, replacing him with Kane Williamson. Warner is also dropped for their next match.
- The 2021 IPL’s top runscorer KL Rahul is diagnosed with acute appendicitis and has surgery with immediate effect.
- Delhi and India star Ravi Ashwin takes a break from the IPL to support his family during the Covid-19 pandemic.
- Two KKR players test positive for Covid, with their match against RCB postponed.
- Three members of the CSK camp test positive.
- W. Saha of SRH and Amit Mishra of Delhi test positive, leading to further disruptions.
- The BCCI suspends the IPL season indefinitely.
- At the time it’s suspended, Delhi are top with 12 points from eight games, CSK second with 10 from seven games. KKR and SRH are seventh and eighth with just two and one wins respectively.
But what are the consequences of both the change of venue to the UAE and the postponement till mid-September?
Who will the change of venue suit?
Well, Mumbai won the tournament at a canter last year when it was held in the UAE. It was arguably the most comprehensive campaign ever seen in the IPL.
So they wouldn’t have minded the postponement at all. They were doing ok at the time with four wins from seven, but weren’t quite in the mood like they had been the previous year.
The bookies are well aware of their threat, with Betway making them 3.75 third-favourites despite having plenty of work to do to finish in the all-important Top 2.
CSK, however, won’t be liking the change of venue at all. Last season was famously the first where they didn’t make the Playoffs and though the UAE venue wasn’t the only reason for that, it was one of them.
They may still be 3.5 favourites but MS Dhoni won’t have liked the disruption when they were going so well.
KL Rahul gets to play
Normally, one player doesn’t get his own section. But then again, KL Rahul is no normal player.
The brilliant wicket-keeper batsman of the Punjab Kings was last year’s leading run scorer in the IPL despite his side not making the Playoffs and he was at it again this year.
Seven games produced four fifties and 331 runs before he was diagnosed with appendicitis. Only Shikhar Dhawan (380 runs from eight games) had more.
So the break was actually good news for Rahul because he was certain to miss at least two matches as he recovered. Not just for the Punjab Kings (odds of 17.0) as their skipper and best player, but also for himself, because he’ll have every chance of winning the Orange Cap in T20 batsman betting, again.
Some Aussies are in, some Aussies are out
One of the headline stories just before the IPL’s postponement revolved around some of the Australian players abandoning the IPL and desperately trying to get home.
Adam Zampa, Kane Richardson and Andrew Tye were the first, followed by the likes of Steve Smith, David Warner and Glenn Maxwell.
Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, Marcus Stoinis and Daniel Sams all pulled out of the tour to the West Indies that was played last month.
But by all accounts, they’re all more than happy to return to the IPL when it’s moved to the UAE.
The cynical may argue it’s a lot of money to turn down but they could all come up with the same argument to justify their decision: the T20 World Cup will be held there later this year so it’s good preparation to get used to conditions.
But there will be no Pat Cummins. The KKR man has opted out of returning to the IPL with that World Cup and an Ashes series on the horizon.
Good news for English players and England
Did the ECB decide to cancel their tour of Bangladesh in September-October (postponed till March next year) specifically so that their players could return to the IPL and get some games under their belt in UAE conditions?
We’ll never know for sure, but it’s very possible.
The chief beneficiaries of this turnaround could be CSK. Moeen Ali and Sam Curran are key players for them and will now have both of them available, which didn’t look likely a few days ago. It’s going to give the pair of them a unique chance to win one of the biggest prizes in the sport.
Delhi, also contenders at 3.75 to win their first-ever IPL, also get Sam Billings, Tom Curran and Chris Woakes, though of those only Woakes is a regular for them.
Jos Buttler (Rajasthan Royals) and Jonny Bairstow (SRH) are others who will return but Rajasthan pair Jofra Archer (injury) and Ben Stokes (taking a break from cricket) won’t.
England are 4.2 favourites to win what would be their second T20 World Cup.