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Can KKR turn around their fortunes?

By RAJNEESH GUPTA
April 10, 2021 23:12 IST
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IMAGE: Kolkata Knight Riders aiM to win their first IPL title in seven years, having last triumphed under Gautam Gambhir's captaincy in 2014. Photograph: BCCI
 

Two-time champions Kolkata Knight Riders will be striving to turn around their fortunes in IPL 2021 after a below-par showing last season.

Be it the opening combination, middle-order or finding a finisher, KKR struggled for stability in the last edition in the UAE, while a change of captaincy at the halfway stage did not help them either.

Add the floundering forms of their two biggest Caribbean stars -- Andre Russell and Sunil Narine, who is not even half the bowler after being repeatedly called for suspect action, KKR missed the playoffs for a second time in a row.

In Captain Eoin Morgan, KKR have got one of the most astute brains of the white-ball format. The English World Cup-winning skipper, who took over the role after seven games last season, was one of the bright spots for the team in 2020.

The left-hander struck 418 runs in 14 innings at an average of 41.80 and also hit the most sixes (24), giving impetus in the death overs with his cameos.

KKR have made some smart additions to their squad at the IPL players' auction in February, apart from retaining their core of the side -- 17 players -- despite a disappointing season.

By bringing back Bangladesh star all-rounder Shakib-Al-Hasan and signing Australian Ben Cutting, they have got the much-needed back-ups for the Windies duo of Narine and Russell, who failed to fire last season.

KKR will also be buoyed by the smash-hit international debut of Prasidh Krishna, who took 4/54 in the first ODI against England.

This would also mean KKR would have a settled pace attack spearheaded by Aussie superstar Pat Cummins with Lockie Ferguson as the back-up option.

Once their strength, KKR of late has struggled in the spin department. Left arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav is a shadow of his past and returned with just one wicket in five matches, of which he was not given the ball in one.

One of the architects of their twin triumphs in 2012 and 2014, Narine is also in poor form.

It was another mystery spinner, Varun Chakravarthy who took up the responsibility in Narine's absence to finish with most wickets -- 17 -- for KKR.

Having decided to step away from being captain last season, Dinesh Karthik too will look to make amends in 2021.

Veteran Indian off-spinner Harbhajan Singh will look to make most of the limited opportunities that come his way.

Squad:

 AgeBatsBowlsRoleIPL games
Eoin Morgan 34 Left-handed Right-arm medium Captain/batsman 66
Karun Nair 29 Right-handed Right-arm off-break Batsman 73
Rahul Tripathi 30 Right-handed Right-arm fast-medium Batsman 45
Shubman Gill 21 Right-handed Right-arm off-break Batsman 41
Gurkeerat Singh Mann 30 Right-handed Right-arm off-break Batsman 41
Dinesh Karthik 35 Right-handed Right-arm off-break Wicket-keeper 196
Sheldon Jackson 34 Right-handed   Wicket-keeper 4
Tim Seifert 26 Right-handed Right-arm fast-medium Wicket-keeper 0
Sunil Narine 32 Left-handed Right-arm off-break All-rounder 120
Andre Russell 32 Right-handed Right-arm fast-medium All-rounder 74
Shakib Al Hasan 34 Left-handed Left-arm spin All-rounder 63
Nitish Rana 27 Left-handed Right-arm off-break All-rounder 60
Pat Cummins 27 Right-handed Right-arm fast-medium All-rounder 30
Ben Cutting 34 Right-handed Right-arm fast-medium All-rounder 21
Kamlesh Nagarkoti 21 Right-handed Right-arm fast-medium All-rounder 10
Venkatesh Iyer 26 Left-handed Right-arm medium All-rounder 0
Prasidh Krishna 25 Right-handed Right-arm fast-medium Bowler 24
Lockie Ferguson 29 Right-handed Right-arm fast-medium Bowler 14
Shivam Mavi 22 Right-handed Right-arm fast-medium Bowler 17
Sandeep Warrier 29 Right-handed Right-arm fast-medium Bowler 4
Vaibhav Arora 23 Right-handed Right-arm fast-medium Bowler 0
Harbhajan Singh 40 Right-handed Right-arm off-break Bowler 160
Pawan Negi 28 Left-handed Left-arm spin Bowler 50
Kuldeep Yadav 26 Left-handed Left-arm spin Bowler 45
Varun Chakravarthy 29 Right-handed Right-arm leg-break Bowler 14

Note: The players in bold are overseas players

Gurkeerat Singh Mann was not in the original squad. He came as the replacement for Rinku Singh, who had to sit out because of a knee injury.

Players bought at this year's IPL auction:

Karun Nair
Sheldon Jackson
Shakib Al Hasan
Ben Cutting
Venkatesh Iyer
Vaibhav Arora
Harbhajan Singh
Pawan Negi

Overall win-loss record in IPL:

PlayedWonLostNo ResultWin%W/L ratio
192 99 93 0 51.56 1.06

Note: The win/loss tally includes results in Super Over after a tie

Best finish in IPL:

Champions in 2012 and 2014

How they fared in each edition:

YearPosition
2008 6th
2009 8th
2010 6th
2011 4th
2012 1st
2013 7th
2014 1st
2015 5th
2016 4th
2017 3rd
2018 3rd
2019 5th
2020 5th

Andre Russell

IMAGE: All-rounder Andre Russell will be key to KKR's hopes in IPL 2021. Photograph: BCCI

Top batsmen:

 GamesRunsHighest ScoreAverageStruke Rate10050
G Gambhir 108 3035 93 31.61 124.28 0 27
R V Uthappa 86 2439 87 30.48 136.25 0 16
Y K Pathan 106 1893 72 31.55 138.27 0 7
A D Russell 67 1459 88* 31.04 184.21 0 8
J H Kallis 56 1295 80* 26.42 106.76 0 7
C A Lynn 40 1274 93* 34.43 141.39 0 10
M K Pandey 55 1270 94 31.75 125.12 0 6
S C Ganguly 40 1031 91 28.63 110.50 0 7
M K Tiwary 54 1002 75* 29.47 111.70 0 4
N Rana 43 1000 87 27.02 138.69 0 7

Prasidh Krishna

IMAGE: KKR pace bowler Prasidh Krishna. Photograph: BCCI

Top bowlers:

 GamesWicketsAverageRuns Per OverBest4W
S P Narine 120 127 24.77 6.77 5-19 7
P P Chawla 70 66 27.80 8.21 4-32 1
A D Russell 67 60 24.73 8.82 4-20 1
U T Yadav 47 48 29.02 8.62 4-33 1
Shakib Al Hasan 43 43 25.60 7.17 3-17 0
J H Kallis 56 42 27.45 7.53 3-13 0
K Yadav 45 40 30.90 8.27 4-20 1
L Balaji 35 33 27.87 7.38 4-18 1
R Bhatia 46 32 29.09 7.21 3-22 0
M Morkel 29 32 27.18 7.80 2-18 0

Feature Presentation: Aslam Hunani/Rediff.com

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Indian Premier League - 2021

Indian Premier League - 2021