IPL 2017 : Kolkata Knight Riders appears to be the best ‘balanced outfit’ as of now

Kolkata Knight Riders appears to be the best ‘balanced outfit’ as of now: Of the eight teams in the fray, Shah Rukh Khan part-owned Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) appears to be the best ‘balanced tam’ at this juncture.

Winning three games out of the four that they have played, KKR occupy the second slot on the points table just behind Mumbai Indians (MI), but then MI have played one game more.

KKR, ably led by their ‘never-say-die’ skipper, Gautam Gambhir, have won their games very convincingly.

In their first encounter against Gujarat Lions (GL), they won the game by 10 wickets, when their opening pair of Gambhir and Chris Lynn made short-work of the target of 184 runs and finished the game in 14.5 overs.

The opening pair went on to put up a world-record partnership of 184 runs, with Gambhir on 76* runs and Lynn on 93* runs.

However, they lost to MI in the second game that was played at the Wankhede Stadium. While Manish Pandey played an unbeaten champion’s knock of 81* runs, he could not help his team put up a stiff target.

A fine half-century by Nitish Rana (50) and a cameo by Parthiv Patel saw MI reach the target and win by 4 wickets.

Returning to Eden Gardens to play their home games, KKR regrouped and were once again roaring to go at their oppositions.

The third game against Kings’ XI Punjab (KXIP) saw KKR get back to their winning ways. Restricting their opposition to 170 runs in 20 overs, they romped home, chasing the target (171 runs) losing just a couple of wickets.

Opener Lynn, who injured his shoulders while fielding at the Wankhhede was ruled out for a few games. While it was expected that the wicket-keeper, Robin Uthapa, would accompany Gambhir to open the innings, the skipper sprang up a surprise by taking Sunil Narine alongwith him to open the innings.

The West Indian spinner, who was promoted up the order, did not disappoint either the team management or the fans of KKR.

He scored a quickfire 37 runs off 29 balls, aided by 4 fours and 3 sixes and gave a wonderful start to the chase. With Uthapa failing to make any contribution, Gambhir (72*) alongwith Manish Pandey (25*) safely took the team across the line with 21 balls to spare.

The fourth clash for KKR was against the defending champions, Sun Risers Hyderabad (SRH).

Playing the game at Eden Gardens, KKR, put into bat, managed to notch up 172 runs for the loss of 6 wickets in 20 overs.

With the openers, Narine and Gambhir, getting out early, Robin Uthapa (68) and Manish Pandey (46) helped the team to put up a decent score. Yusuf Pathan remained unbeaten on 21* runs.

Chasing 173 runs, SRH found it difficult to overcome the onslaught of the KKR bowlers and could notch up only 155 runs for the loss of six wickets and lost the game by 17 runs.

KKR bowlers, Chris Woakes, Umesh Yadav, Sunil Naraine, have all done well in either restricting the oppositions to a low score, while setting a target, or to restrict them from reaching the target, while chasing, in three out of four games.

The team management has been very successful, thus far, in putting a very balanced Playing XI on the field that has helped the team a good success rate.

If the team could continue to perform the way they have done till now, it’s a possibility that they might end on the podium.


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