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Kolkata, the city of joy, certainly lived upto its name when the very first match of the maiden IPL season took place. The match featuring Kolkata Knight Riders & Royal Challengers Bangalore is best remembered for Brendon McCullum’s scintillating knock of 158*(73), which set the tone for IPL 2008. But things didn’t really go down as expected. KKR soon found themselves losing key matches and were out of contention for the semifinals.
But what followed in 2011 worked wonders for KKR. Gautam Gambhir was drafted into the side and was made the captain. Since then, KKR has been a different unit. It won the title in 2012 and 2014, and looks good for this edition as well.
Let’s take a look at the KKR squad for IPL 2019.
It is one of the strongest batting sides in this edition. To open the batting, they have Chris Lynn & Sunil Narine who have provided the team with quick starts in the past. Robin Uthappa, an experience candidate joins the list at number 3. The middle order has the likes of Shubman Gill, Nitish Rana and Rinku Singh, and this side also boasts of finishers like Andre Russell and Dinesh Karthik, who is also the team’s skipper.
Apart from Narine and Russell, who are most likely to make it to the first eleven, KKR has roped in Mundhe and Brathwaite, who can chip in with a few overs. Brathwaite’s similar style of play makes him a good replacement for Russell, who has a history with injuries.
The bowling unit has the two well known wrist spinners Piyush Chawla and Kuldeep Yadav. And the masterclass of Sunil Narine promises 4 cheap and wicket taking overs. They also have KC Cariappa, but he will find it tough to make it to the playing XI.
The only department which could hurt the Knight Riders is their lack of Indian fast bowling options. Shivam Mavi & Kamlesh Nagarkoti have been ruled out of IPL 2019. This leaves KKR with Prasidh Krishna, Yarra Prithviraj & Sandeep Warrier as the other options. Their foreign pace attack includes England’s Harry Gurney and New Zealand’s Lockie Ferguson.
So overall, KKR has a good first 11 with one of the most lethal top 7 line up. But the lack of experience in their pace attack could be the difference between KKR and the other sides.
Probable Playing XI: Chris Lynn, Sunil Narine, Robin Uthappa, Nitish Rana, Dinesh Karthik, Shubman Gill, Andre Russell, Kuldeep Yadav, Piyush Chawla, Prasidh Krishna, Lockie Ferguson.