KKR : Team Analysis and Probable Playing XI IPL 2020
Two times champion Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) will start the upcoming edition of Indian Premier League (IPL) looking to add yet another trophy to their tally. The team led by Dinesh Karthik has some quality T20 players who can single-handedly turn the match for their team.
The foreign players department looks pretty solid for KKR along with some talented Indian youngsters. With the presence of perfect T20 players, this KKR side can prove to be headache for any of the teams in the tournament.
Looking at the balance of the team, one cannot overlook KKR's chances in the tournament. Actually, I will be surprised if they dont make it to the playoffs this season and may even end up lifting the title.
KKR will miss the services of Chris Lynn and Robin Uthappa as both of them were released before the auction. The big shoes of Lynn and Uthappa are to be filled by the likes of Shubman Gill, Nitish Rana and Rahul Tripathi.
Shubman Gill will probably open the innings for Kolkata along with Sunil Narine. Gill was the Emerging Player in the last season. Nitish Rana may come in at 3 followed by Rahul Tripathi. Eoin Morgan is a big name in this lineup and it will be interesting to see how KKR will use Morgan. Skipper Dinesh Karthik will have a vital role to play as a batsman.
Kolkata may even open with Tripathi and bring Gill and Rana at 3 and 4. Also depending on the match scenario, Morgan can come up the order and provide that momentum initially which the finishers can capitalize on.
Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Chris Green
Kolkata Knight Riders have two of the best T20 allrounders in the names of Andre Russell and Sunil Narine. Narine has become a more than handy batsman ever since he started opening the innings for the franchise. Along with some brisk cameos at the top of the order, Narine is equally destructive with his bowling too.
Another important man in the lineup is big hard hitting West Indian Russell. Russell ended with 222 runs from 9 matches in the recent Carribean Premier League (CPL) representing Jamaica Tallawahs. He wasn't equally successful in bowling department with mere 3 wickets throughout the tournament. Russell was the top scorer for Kolkata in the 2019 edition of IPL with 510 runs at a blistering strike rate of over 200.
Looking at the available quality options of foreign players, Chris Green is highly unlikely to get a chance in playing XI.
Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Kuldeep Yadav, Lockie Ferguson, M Siddharth, Pat Cummins, Prasidh Krishna, Sandeep Warrier, Shivam Mavi, Varun Chakravarthy
Australian pacer Pat Cummins is the premier choice for leading the pace attack. Cummins is the most expensive foreign buy ever at IPL players' auction as he was brought in for 15.5 crore by KKR.
Kiwi pacer Lockie Ferguson is another quality option who will probably get some chances in the later stages if not from the initial phase of the tournament.
Medium-pacer Harry Gurney has been ruled out of this season owing to a shoulder injury. KKR attempted to replace Gurney with Mustafizur Rahman from Bangladesh but didn't succeed as Bangladesh Cricket Board denied him an NOC.
Kuldeep Yadav didn't have a good outing in the previous season with only 4 wickets from 9 matches. He will definitely be looking to get back to wickets column and improve his stats.
The IPL being shifted to UAE might prove to be pretty beneficial for the likes of Varun Chakravarthy. Being a spinner, Chakravarthy is expected to get advantage over someone like Nagarkoti or Siddhesh Lad.
Probable Playing XI
Players to Watch Out : Nitish Rana and Shubman Gill
The only worry for Kolkata I feel is their Indian bench. The options for foreign players looks solid but the inexperienced Indian players might hurt them somewhere in their journey.
Overall, KKR looks a dangerous T20 side and one can back them to do well in this tournament. As far as my views are concerned, this teamwill get to playoffs and the journey further will depend on their momentum and form going into the playoffs.
The team selection and analysis done is purely personal opinion of the writer.