Kolkata Knight Riders(KKR) had missed their spot in playoffs in the Indian Premier League (IPL) in 2020 for a low net run rate. The two-times IPL champion side is looking to seal their spot in playoffs as early as possible this year.
They have brought some big names like Shakib Al Hasan, Harbhajan Singh, Ben Cutting this year into the squad. A bunch of young domestic players like Vaibhav Arora, Venkatesh Iyer had been included into this side for their outstanding performance in Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy earlier.
This team had faced serious trouble for doing lots of experiments in their playing XI and specially in the batting order. Let us see how they can male their strongest XI for any condition.
Shubhman Gill has shown his strong character and excellent cricketing skills not only for KKR but at the international level also. He is definitely going to open the batting for KKR this year.
As his partner this year we can see Nitish Rana come ahead. As Sunil Narine performed so poorly in the previous edition, management may not want to take any risk.
Rahul Tripathi has opened with Gill before but couldn’t use the powerplay restriction in a good way. He might bat at the lower order but also an option to think for in the opening slot.
Middle Order Stars:
KKR have an outstanding international level middle order this year. The inclusion of Shakib has provided this team diversity as well as a solid balance. Shakib may be seen batting at no. 3 for KKR this year.
The skipper Eoin Morgan batted in lower-order previously but this year he should come forward and face as much ball as possible.
Next in the lineup, there can be a switch between Andre Russell and Dinesh Karthik according to the situation. But for me in a regular situation, Dinesh Karthik should come before Russell.
KKR Lower Order:
One of the best hitters of the IPL Andre Russell is there to hit in the final overs for KKR. Though his fitness is a matter of concern, this year KKR has a backup of Russell as Ben Cutting. Cutting is also a good hitter and bowls 3-4 overs as well.
If Rahul Tripathi doesn’t play as an opener he may bat at lower in the batting order as well. If Sunil Narine plays he also can be seen in this place. They also have Karun Nair, Pwan Negi, Venkatesh Iyer to play at No. 7.
KKR have a large pool of spinners and pacers this year. They have diversity and experience together which is a positive sign for them.
Pat Cummins will lead the pace bowling attack and with him, we may see Shivam Mavi and Prasidh Krishna more often. There will be rotation among Mavi, Nagarkoti, Krishna, Sandeep during the whole season.
Due to the outstanding performance last year Varun Chakrabarty will seal his spot in the playing XI. Experience spinner Harbhajan Singh is also there but he may not play all matches in league stages.
This year will be a crucial one for Kuldeep Yadav. Lack of chances is affecting his career already. If he gets any chance he has to perform to sustain in this game. Lockie Ferguson is also an alternative pace option but he may not feature in all matches.
Shubhman Gill, Nitish Rana, Shakib Al Hasan, Eoin Morgan, Dinesh Karthik, Andre Russell, Rahul Tripathi/Karun Nair/ Venkatesh Iyer, Pat Cummins, Shivam Mavi, Varun Chakravarthy, Kamlesh Nagarkoti/ Prasidh Krishna/Harbhajan Singh.
Eoin Morgan (C), Dinesh Karthik(WK), Nitish Rana, Shubman Gill, Rahul Tripathi, Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Kuldeep Yadav, Lockie Ferguson, Pat Cummins, Prasidh Krishna, Rinku Singh, Sandeep Warrier, Shivam Mavi, Varun Chakaravarthy, Tim Seifert, Shakib al Hasan, Ben Cutting, Karun Nair, Harbhajan Singh, Sheldon Jackson, Pawan Negi, Venkatesh Iyer, Vaibhav Arora.