The Kolkata Knight riders were initially the team in the spotlight because of the popular owners and the star studded line up that they had. However, they didn’t see success and didn’t have the right structure to manage a cricket team. After the first 3 seasons, once their realized this, KKR focused on the administrative side separately and became a brand by itself. Since they started to look at it without emotions, they have looked like one of the most organized teams. The Knigh Riders brand has also started to expand in other leagues and are successful.
However, they didn’t have a smooth sailing in 2019. They were very dependent on Andre Russell to win games and also some issues within the team came to the media as well. They have done well this year in the auction and will hope to resolve the internal issues and perform well as a team.
KKR’s strength is clearly their batting. With the new players they have bought this year, it is safe to say that this team will have one of the most formidable batting line.
Having a good finisher is something most teams around the world are struggling with, but KKR have two of them in Andre Russell who is the best in this format along with Dinesh Karthik.
Having Brendon McCullum and Eoin Morgan in the leadership group will add a lot of value on and off the field.
The death bowling is something that could still be a problem for KKR. The Indian Pacers are young and untested at this level which will be an area that other teams will target.
Kuldeep Yadav struggled last year and he will need to step up his game playing at UAE.
The Batting order for KKR almost picks itself. They have one of the best overseas combination in Narine, Morgan, Russell and Cummins who should take field in every game they are available. They also gave very good back up in Tom Banton who will be ready to step in at the top of the order when required. They have good a few Indian bowling options in Prashid Krishna, Shivam Mavi, Sandeep Warrior, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Varun Chakravarthy and Manimaran Siddharth. Only two out of all these bowlers will get to play and that will depend on the surfaces they play. Nagarkoti is someone who is highly rated and is expected to feature at some point in this years tournament.
The Middle order can be flexible depending on the situation. They should make sure that Morgan, Karthik and Russell get enough time to bat.
KKR Probable XI to start the tournament : 1) Sunil Narine, 2) Shubman Gill, 3) Nitish Rana, 4) Eoin Morgan, 5) Dinesh Karthik (c)(wk), 6) Andre Russell, 7) Rahul Tripathi, 8) Pat Cummins, 9) Shivam Mavi, 10) Prashid Krishna, 11) Kuldeep Yadav
The batting line up looks very dangerous and if the bowling unit is able to support them, they can be strong contenders. Shubman Gill is expected to have a breakthrough season this year.