Chennai Super Kings, CSK, IPL 2021
Chennai Super Kings. Image Credits: BCCI

It is now two weeks into the second half of the 2021 IPL, and the full effects of the May postponement – due to a large number of COVID cases, are becoming apparent. Firstly, and most obviously, there is the relocation to the UAE for the remainder of the matches to be played before the 15th of October conclusion, and the number of minor rule changes made to keep players safe during this period, like what happens when the ball is hit into the crowd, a very common occurrence in the IPL.

These changes will affect all of the teams, and on their own would have an impact on the result of matches as finely poised as those in the IPL. However, there have been a number of other changes involving team personnel that will affect some sides more than others. These personnel changes have come as a result of a number of factors including ‘bubble fatigue’ and players commitments to other tournaments such as the imminent ICC World Cup, which has affected the involvement of a number of high-profile players, especially those named in the England and Australia squads.

The changes will also have a knock-on effect if you’re planning on placing a wager on the outcome of the tournament or any of the remaining matches. Using a complete list of best betting sites will help you to find the best odds available, despite all the major changes taking place.

The biggest changes in personnel have not come at what is emerging to be the top half of the IPL 2021 table, with five-times winners Mumbai Indians and current table toppers CSK largely unaffected by the changes. However, the same can’t be said for 3rd place holders and perennial underachievers, RCB, who have lost big name game changers like Kane Richardson, and Adam Zampa.

It’s the bottom half of the table that has seen the most disruption, most notably at Rajasthan Royals. This is because arguably their three biggest names, the England internationals Jos Butler, Jofra Archer, and Ben Stokes are absent for a number of reasons.

New father Jos has one eye on the forthcoming World Cup and also has his attention split between events home and the forthcoming (but much debated) Ashes tour. Fast bowler Jofra Archer has had a persistent elbow injury that has not only kept him out of the English domestic summer, including tests, ODIs and the new ‘Hundred’ competition, but will also keep him out of this 2021 IPL tournament, the ICC World Cup, and the Ashes. The most high-profile player, Ben Stokes, of course, has taken an indefinite break from all forms of cricket so is not expected to return soon.

So, even with No1 T20i ranked bowler Tabrez Shamsi recruited to join the Royals along with Glen Phillips to fill what is a considerable void, it might be hard to see RR doing too much in the remaining matches to substantially improve on their current 2nd bottom position.

Just one place above Rajasthan Royals are Punjab Kings, whose fate also could be sealed. If the absence of No1 T20i rated England batsman David Malan was not a big enough loss, the recent withdrawal of ‘Universe Boss’ Chris Gayle from their ranks is likely to see their season peter out with a whimper rather than the type of ‘bang’ associated with a typical Chris Gayle innings.

The last of the England international side’s withdrawals, Jonny Bairstow, is unlikely to affect the outcome of the season for bottom team Sunrisers Hyderabad, who are already unable to qualify for the end of season play off matches. This has already led to the very high profile resting of David Warner, and the inclusion of several younger squad players—giving them a chance to gain invaluable experience on the field.