Eoin Morgan was in all praises for Tim Southee, who set the tone for Kolkata Knight Riders’ six-wicket win over Sunrisers Hyderabad in Dubai on Sunday. Southee had replaced Pat Cummins at the start of IPL 2021 second half after the Australian had opted out of travelling for the UAE leg.
Southee had last played in the IPL back in 2019, for the Royal Challengers Bangalore, before he was roped in by the Knight Riders as Pat Cummins’ replacement ahead of the UAE leg. In his three outings in 2019, Southee could bag just one wicket, while conceding runs at 13.11.
In his first outing of the season against Delhi Capitals, Southee returned with 1/29 from four overs on a slow and sluggish Sharjah surface. Two matches later, Southee had the added responsibility with fellow countryman Lockie Ferguson sidelined with injury. The veteran didn’t disappoint.
Southee exploited early movement on offer during KKR’s clash against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Sunday, trapping Wriddhiman Saha for a first-ball duck in the first over of the game. He’d come back in the final stages to dismiss a well set Abdul Samad, to finish 2/26 from a four over spell. Shubman Gill's well-crafted half-century in the run-chase secured a six-wicket win for KKR.
"Tim's obviously had a huge impact in the side," Morgan said in the press conference after his team's win over SRH. "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."
The Knight Riders will face Rajasthan Royals in their last league fixture in Sharjah on Thursday, October 7. Given their relatively superior run-rate, a win would secure them a spot in the play-offs.