Kolkata Knight Riders, in short KKR, is a successful franchise in IPL. KKR began their journey in the IPL with the inaugural edition in 2008. They failed during the initial year but came back strong later. They won the IPL in 2012 and 2014 edition, beating Chennai Super Kings and Kings XI Punjab respectively. Gambhir lead the team to IPL glory both the times.
Kolkata Knight Rider is owned by the king of Bollywood, Shahrukh Khan, along with her co-star, Juhi Chawla and a businessman, Jay Mehta. KKR has a huge fanbase across the world because of their superstar owner, Shahrukh Khan. They started the IPL journey with stumblings and failures, they couldn’t even qualify for the playoffs in the first three seasons(2008,2009,2010). In 2011 auctions they completely changed the ideology of the team, once they had a lineup of experienced, old aged players to rely upon, now they got youngsters to bring crisp movement in the team, which actually helps them a lot. KKR was captained by Gautam Gambhir and he led the team to glory two times and to the, now diminished CLT20 league final vs CSK. In the last year, they performed quite well and finished 3rd in the league table and they got qualified for eliminator as well but lost it to SRH.
They retained most of the players in this year’s IPL and made some exciting additions to the team, some of which are : Carlos Brathwaite for Rs 5 crore, Lockie Ferguson for Rs 1.60 crore, Anrich Nortje for Rs 20 lakh, Nikhil Naik for Rs 20 lakh, Harry Gurney for Rs 75 lakh, Yarra Prithviraj for Rs 20 lakh, Joe Denly for Rs 1 crore and Shrikant Mundhe for Rs 20 lakh.
The Backbone of KKR is their bowling lineup. The Knight Riders will be relying heavily on their spinners and all-rounders in this season. During the 2018 edition, KKR’s gamble of using Sunil Narine as opener proved to be a masterstroke. Sunil Narine played 16 matches and scored 357 runs with a tremendous strike rate of 189.89. Narine was also great with the ball, taking 17 wickets in 16 games.
The Kolkata Knight Riders batting department when compared to other teams does not look that solid. The KKR team lack the X-factor in the middle order. The team relies heavily on a quick start from openers. A young and inexperienced middle order with players like Shubhman Gill is yet to be tested. The Kolkata Knight Riders would not want their middle order to be trembling.
Kolkata Knight Riders are loaded with all-rounders which is a huge bonus for them. Players like Sunil Narine, Andre Russell, Chris Lynn, Braithwate, Nitish Rana provide the team with an advantage over others.
The Kolkata Knight Riders can face problems in high-pressure games as they lack experience in their batting lineup. Dinesh Karthik and Robin Uthappa are the only two batsmen who have played in difficult situations. Batting heavy teams like RCB and Mumbai Indians can also pose a threat for the KKR if the bowlers fail to deliver for them.
What to expect?
KKR, under the captaincy of Dinesh Kartik, can aim for the moon. They got Chris Lynn and Sunil Narine, who can open the innings for KKR and can give them an explosive start, which is required in a T20 tournament. Then comes the dependable Kartik, experienced Uthappa and youngster Shubhman Gill in the middle order. They have got some of the best all-rounders in the world, Andre Russell and C. Braithwaite can give them strength in bowling and power hitting in the death. The leg-spin off-spin duo, Piyush and Kuldeep can provide strength to the team on turning tracks. This year is all about finding the right combination for them.
Dinesh Karthik, Robin Uthappa, Kuldeep Yadav, Piyush Chawla Prasidh Krishna, Shivam Mavi, Nitish Rana, Rinku Singh, Kamlesh Nagarkoti and Shubhman Gill, Carlos Brathwaite*, Lockie Ferguson*, Anrich Nortje*, Nikhil Naik, Harry Gurney*, Yarra Prithviraj, Joe Denly*, Shrikant Mundhe.
Probable Playing XI
Chris Lynn*, Sunil Narine*, R Uthappa, Shubhman Gill, D Kartik(c, wk), Nitish Rana, Andre Russel*, Carlos Braithwaite*, Piyush Chawla, Kuldeep Yadav, K Nagarkoti
24 March- SRH(H)
27 March- KXIP(H)
30 March- DC(A)