IPL 2020 preview: A lively KKR embraces for third title
KKR won two IPL titles, in 2012 and 2014, under the leadership of Gautam Gambhir. Since then, they have managed to reach the playoffs on three occasions, but are yet to reach the final. Currently, the team is being led by Dinesh Karthik, for the past two seasons.
When it comes to Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), the first fact that everyone relates to is the team being owned by Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan. It is owing to this very fact the side has such a huge fan base with the support of hardcore Bengalis.
Having won the IPL title on two occasions, they are yet to win it since 2014. With title-winning captain Gautam Gambhir no more in the side, the onus is upon Dinesh Karthik, who has done a commendable job so far, but has failed to steer the side past the line.
As the side possesses some really fine players, with an abundance of fine young talent, it is always one of the most unpredictable teams in the IPL. In the same light, we take a look at them and analyse their performance for the upcoming season.
Inconsistency is a plague: Although KKR have lifted their spirit and momentum, especially since the 2011 edition, it is their unusual tendency to become inconsistent at times that has const them. Of late, KKR are well known to give a resounding start to the season, making them look invincibles. However, just after a few games, they succumb to a losing streak, thus derailing their progress.
Players to watch out- Sunil Narine: The mystery spinner, who has been associated with the side since 2012, is still a mystery to most of the batsmen. Known for spinning the ball both ways, he is once again set to make an impact this season, especially in the rank-turners at UAE. Also, his random knack to bat as an opener and provide flawless starts becomes a headache for any team.
Kuldeep Yadav: One of India's prominent chinaman, while he made his name in KKR, he endured a tough season in 2019, claiming just four wickets in nine matches. Nonetheless, with UAE tracks known to be spin-friendly, this could be his chance to script the ultimate comeback, by troubling the batsmen. Also, along with Narine's support, KKR could be lethal at the spin front.
Andre Russell: A no-brainer for the side, Andre Russell stole the show last season owing to his volatile hitting abilities, and rescuing KKR on a number of occasions. Being the most-sought player in the fantasy leagues, he is undoubtedly going to be in demand, again, this season. However, with the slower tracks in UAE, along with larger grounds, he might need to work extra hard to sail the ball over the park.
Karthik: The skipper has done a laudable job in the past two seasons. Yet, he needs to do better this term. Known for his strict approach, there are various reports claiming that some players might have a fallout with him. Nonetheless, with his sound leadership qualities, and staunch finishing abilities, he is the right man to lead this side home.
Squad: Dinesh Karthik (c & wk), Eoin Morgan, Tom Banton (wk), Kuldeep Yadav, Rinku Singh, Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Shivam Mavi, Nikhil Naik (wk), Pat Cummins, Prashidh Krishna, Chris Green, Shubman Gill, Nitish Rana, Rahul Tripathi, M Siddharth, Sandeep Warrier, Varun Chakravarthy, Siddhesh Lad, Ali Khan, Lockie Ferguson.
2020 prediction: KKR have a lively squad and always gel as a unit. But, it is their inconsistency that they need to work upon. Also, putting aside the differences with the skipper, the team must follow in his footsteps. If done so, KKR are surely firm favourites for the title, while they already are the dark horses.