The Kolkata Knight Riders are back to Korbo Lorbo Jeetbo in the IPL. An unsuccessful franchise in first three editions, the Knight Riders has seen some of its most glorious moments under the able leadership of Gautam Gambhir. Being the first franchise to win two titles, they look good to fancy their chances for third one.
Before the start of season, KKR suffered a huge blow when Andre Russell was banned from cricket for violating doping laws. Russell had been their go-to man when it came to giving impetus to the innings with lusty hits and bowling 4 good overs, not to forget his acrobatics in the field.
It was expected that they would rope in Ben Stokes as he was tailor made replacement for Russell, instead they dropped a bombshell but not even placing a bid for him!
They have acquired Chris Woakes, Trent Boult, DM Bravo, Nathan Coulter Nile to their already star studded side.
Strengths – The biggest strength of KKR is the depth in their side in both batting and bowling department. In any given playing XI from this squad you would find at least 6-7 bowling options as well as batters upto No.9 able to wield their willow. KKR has the best spin bowling attack in the league.
Weakness – They haven’t found a perfect replacement for Russell who was their key players last 2 seasons. His big shoes have remained unfilled. Also except Umesh there is no experienced Indian seam bowler.
X-Factor – Variety in their bowling. KKR have got at least one bowler of each possible type. Right arm seamer (Yadav), Left arm seamer (Boult), Off spinner (Narine), Slow left arm (Shakib), Leg spin (Chawala), Chinaman (Kuldeep)
Probable XI – Gautam Gambhir (C), Robin Uthappa (WK), Manish Pandey, Chris Lynn, Shakib al Hasan, Yusuf Pathan, Suryakumar Yadav, Chris Woakes, Piyush Chawla, Sunil Narine, Umesh Yadav
Two seasoned campaigners Gambhir and Uthappa form rock solid pair at the top. Manish Pandey has been the backbone of this side over last 3 seasons and is expected to retain No.3 spot. Giving his prowess and ability to set the stage on fire, it won’t be a surprise if Lynn gets good amount of games. Then Shakib Al Hasan and Yusuf Pathan at 5 and 6 to provide lusty blows in death overs. Surya is likely to assume the role of finisher at No.7. Woakes will replace Russell for all rounder’s slot and Narine and Chawala will take care of spin department, lone Indian seamer being Umesh Yadav.
Players bought at the auction:
Trent Boult, Chris Woakes, Rishi Dhawan, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Rovman Powell, R Sanjay Yadav, Ishank Jaggi, Darren Bravo, Sayan Ghosh
Squad: Gautam Gambhir (C), Sunil Narine, Kuldeep Yadav, Manish Pandey, Suryakumar Yadav, Piyush Chawla, Robin Uthappa, Shakib Al Hasan, Chris Lynn, Umesh Yadav, Yusuf Pathan, Sheldon Jackson, Ankit Singh Rajput, Trent Boult, Chris Woakes, Rishi Dhawan, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Rovman Powell, R Sanjay Yadav, Ishank Jaggi, Darren Bravo, Sayan Ghosh
Team Schedule :-
Match 3: Gujarat Lions vs KKR, April 7 2017, 8:00 PM IST
Match 7: Mumbai Indians vs KKR, April 9 2017, 8:00 PM IST
Match 11: KKR vs Kings XI Punjab, April 13 2017, 8:00 PM IST
Match 14: KKR vs SRH, April 15 2017, 4:00 PM IST
Match 18: Delhi Daredevils vs KKR, April 17 2017, 4:00 PM IST
Match 23: KKR vs Gujarat Lions, April 21 2017, 8:00 PM IST
Match 27: KKR vs RCB, April 23 2017, 8:00 PM IST
Match 30: RPS Vs KKR, April 26 2017, 8:00 PM IST
Match 32: KKR vs Delhi Daredevils, April 28 2017, 4:00 PM IST
Match 37: SRH vs KKR, April 30 2017, 8:00 PM IST
Match 41: KKR vs Rising Pune Supergiant, May 3 2017, 8:00 PM IST
Match 46: RCB vs KKR, May 7 2017, 4:00 PM IST
Match 49: Kings XI Punjab vs KKR, May 9 2017, 8:00 PM IST
Match 54: KKR vs Mumbai Indians, May 13 2017, 8:00 PM IST
– by Atharva Apte