IPL 2020: This is how KKR can win title this season
KKR won the title in 2012 and 2014, both under the captaincy of Gautam Gambhir. They finished in the fifth spot last season and would play most of their matches in Abu Dhabi this season.
Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) are one of the most celebrated teams in the Indian Premier League (IPL), not just because of their Bollywood-based owner Shah Rukh Khan, but also for possessing some flamboyant players. The former two-time champions have also been one of the consistent sides to feature in the playoffs, having qualified six times since 2011.
Furthermore, their smart shopping during the auctions, along with the possession of highly talented uncapped players, makes them a surprise package every season. On the same note, we analyse a few reasons as to why they can win their third title this season.
Talented English players: KKR have the possession of three of the most talented English players in their side. While limited-overs skipper Eoin Morgan makes a return to the side this season after seven years, wicketkeeper-batsman Tom Banton, too, has been brilliant of late, leading to him being acquired during the auctions. Although the side was also due to have the services of prolific pacer Harry Gurney, his unavailability has delivered a setback to the side.
Morgan has been in fine form in T20Is since the conclusion of IPL 2019, scoring 430 runs in 13 innings at an average of 39.09, Meanwhile, Banton has been decent as well, scoring 205 runs in nine matches at a moderate average of 22.77. Although Morgan would be a regular player in the side, Banton would act as skipper Dinesh Karthik's deputy.
The Brendon McCullum effect: Former New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum has been a part of long-lasting memories with KKR. Although he might be retired as a player now, he is still hugely associated with the brand, as he serves as their coach.
The most interesting and notable part is his recent outing as a coach, which has been a highly successful one. He is also the coach of Trinbago Knight Riders (TKR) in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL), owned by the same brand. His team not only won the title this season, but also stayed unbeaten throughout the tournament. Thus, its quite possible that McCullum can replicate the same feat with KKR too.
Lethal form of Pat Cummins: KKR did raise eyebrows when they bought Australian pacer Pat Cummins for a whopping ₹15.5 crore, as he became the most expensive overseas player in IPL history. The price is somewhat justified, especially owing to his current form since IPL 2019, as he has claimed 12 wickets in 10 T20Is at an average of 19.33 and an economy of 6.82.
Also, the price tag would be a psychological boost for Cummins as he is to come up with the performance of his life, justifying his ownership by the club. Furthermore, this could make KKR deadly in the pace department, if supported by his teammates that include Lockie Ferguson, as well as Andre Russell.
Sublime batting line-up: KKR's batting line-up might not have big names, but it is surely deadly. The likes of Nitish Rana and Shubman Gill, along with Karthik, Morgan, Russell and Banton could turn the tide around anytime. Furthermore, Sunil Narine's talent for pinch-hitting, along with his mystery spin, is highly valuable for the side, which is sure to come in handy.
Possession of youth talent: If there is anything else to fear about, besides the above-said reasons, it is the huge possession of youth talent in their arsenal. The likes of Rinku Singh, Rahul Tripathi, Nikhil Naik, Varun Chakravarthy, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Shivam Mavi and Prasidh Krishna bolster immense expertise in the squad. Furthermore, being established players in the youth and domestic circuit, KKR have hardly anything to worry about, and it unquestionably won't be a surprise if they lay their hands on the title this term.