In our last article of the series of predicted playing 11 of every team in their first games, we take a look at the possible playing 11 of Kolkata Knight Riders that is going to take the field in their encounter against Mumbai Indians tomorrow.
The two times IPL winners got a very formidable lineup after the auction in 2019 as they managed to fetch both Pat Cummins and Eoin Morgan into their side while they have also got the option of opening with Tom Banton, but not in the opening game as confirmed by Brendon McCullum.
Sunil Narine has done a tremendous job opening the batting for KKR over the years and there is no reason why he could be dropped to any other position. Narine could only score 143 runs in the entire 2019 season but he would still have the backing of KKR management, at least at the start. If he fails again, Tom Banton will replace him at the top.
Shubman Gill had quite a successful IPL in 2019 where he amassed a total of 296 runs in the season batting at different positions but the coach McCullum has confirmed that he will bat in the top order this year. Gill’s elegance would be a treat to watch for viewers if he gets going.
Rahul Tripathi/Sidhesh Lad
The real fuss for KKR is the number 3 spot. They have a variety of permutations & combinations for working out this position and that makes things little complicated. They can play Nitish Rana at 3 but that would mean they will have a pretty long tail and to avoid that, they may go with either the experience of Rahul Tripathi or the mystery of Sidhesh Lad. Rinku Singh could be another option.
Nitish Rana will be slotted to bat at 4 although his position can be shifted as per the team demands. He may even be demoted at 7 to make sure Morgan and Russell get to play more balls in the middle. He scored 344 runs in the previous season which can be counted as a ‘ success ‘ which is why KKR fans would have high hopes from him.
English captain Eoin Morgan is a massive purchase for the men in purple as the left hander is returning to IPL after 3 years with a massive redemption in his image as a batsman. He will be batting at the same place where he bats for England team.
Dinesh Karthik (captain & wk)
Captain Dinesh Karthik did’t have a great season last year and that affected KKR’s chances who lost 6 matches in a row after a good start thus missing out on a great opportunity to qualify for the playoffs. His captaincy too seemed to be getting affected because of his poor form with the bat at a time when World Cup selection conundrum was going on. With no such pressure this time, you’d for him to play more freely.
Andre Russell was as dynamic as he can get in the last season. He won them some seemingly impossible games out of nowhere. No wonder he won the most valuable player award last season where he scored 510 runs at an average of 56 and strike rate of 206. He also picked up 11 wickets with the ball. However with the boundary sizes being big, it is not going to be as easy as it was for Russell last year.
KKR snapped the top ranked test bowler in squad for 15.5 CR who is arguably the best addition to the team. Pat Cummins can do serious damage with the bowl and bat as well. With a bowling average of 20.1 and strike rate of 17.8 in international T20’S he can definitely lead bowling attack and win matches for his team. He has had a fantastic year in 2019 with Brendon McCullum giving him the tag of best bowler of 2019.
Kamlesh Nagarkoti is finally fit enough to have a season which could shape up his career. He was in this list of players to watch out for even in 2018 & 2019 but injuries have kept him out of the tournament both the times. he will finally be making debut for KKR if he keeps himself injury free somehow. The tall and quick pacer was India’s one of the best players in their triumph in U-19 World Cup in 2018.
Prasidh Krishna/Shivam Mavi
Young Karnataka pacer Prasidh Krishna had a forgetful 2019 season as he could only manage to pick 4 wickets in the 11 games he played for KKR. Krishna is a highly talented bowler and can surely do better than this which was evident in a season before which the best of Prasidh Krishna. He would be looking to repeat what he did for KKR in the year 2018. Shivam Mavi is another top contender to play at his place and either of these two could get to play tomorrow.
After staring his IPL career with the Mumbai Indians Kuldeep Yadav could not make it to the playing XI in 2012. KKR made the most of his abilities when they bought him in 2016 and have retained him for the last four seasons. He has a strike rate of 21.13 in his IPL career and has played 40 matches in total. The last season the left-arm Chinaman could only manage 4 wickets in 9 matches. He would be highly motivated to forget what happened last year and start afresh.