Kolkata Knight Riders began their IPL 2020 campaign on a dismal note, going down to Mumbai Indians in a thumping loss. However, they have a number of big names in their ranks, and they will be looking to find their momentum against Sunrisers Hyderabad, whom they face on Saturday. The KKR batting unit had collapsed in their opener against Mumbai Indians, while their bowling failed to perform as well, conceding close to 200 runs.
The side are one of the favourites to win the title, and will be looking to get back to winning ways. We look at the best playing XI for the Dinesh Karthik-led KKR team.
Sunil Narine and Shubman Gill
Sunil Narine struggled with the bat in the first game, but he is one of the most dangerous players, with a strike rate of more than 180 at the top. Though he might struggle in the UAE with the ball not coming well on to the bat, even if he scores a fiery 30 at a strike rate of 150, he would have done his job. Narine also sends down his four overs in every match, and had picked up a wicket as well last game, which shows how vital he is for the side.
Gill is one of the best batters in the Indian cricket domestic circuit currently. He too had struggled against Mumbai, but is too good a player to miss out for long. Opening the batting will allow him to play his natural game, which can provide his team with a solid foundation.
Nitish Rana, Dinesh Karthik and Eoin Morgan, Rahul Tripathi
Nitish Rana is an important player in the KKR middle order. He has a fine strike rate, can adjust his game according to the match situation and can play the role of an anchor with ease. Be was pushed down the order in the last game, but we expect him to play at number three.
Eoin Morgan is the likely number four in the batting unit for KKR. The Englishman, who captains his international white-ball cricket teams, is one of the most dangerous players if he gets going. He was picked up by the franchise to add depth to the side. Morgan too did not click in the last game, but he will look to make a mark against SRH.
Dinesh Karthik batted at number three in the last game, and can play the role of an anchor to perfection, while Tripathi is a big-hitter and will have the onus of finishing off games along with Andre Russell and Morgan.
The big-hitting West Indian is one of the most dangerous players, especially in the format. He can contribute with both bat and ball, and single-handedly won KKR a number of games last season. He batted with a strike rate of more than 200 last year, and will be expected to make an impact yet again.
Pat Cummins, Shivam Mavi, Kuldeep Yadav and Kamlesh Nagarkori
Pat Cummins was expensive in the last game, and might be benched. However, Karthik might back the experienced star and play him for another game. He is likely to start with the new ball – something that he did not against Mumbai Indians. He has pace, swing and variations in his arsenal, which makes him a danger.
Kuldeep Yadav too proved to be a disappointment in the last game, but will find the wickets here to his liking and will hope to come good. He did not have the best IPL in 2019, and has not been a regular player in Team India colours as well, and will be looking to cement his spot with a match-winning spell.
Shivam Mavi and Kamlesh Nagarkoti were the most impressive seamers when India won the Under 19 World Cup in 2018. Mavi was the most economical bowler against Mumbai, and will be the key with the new ball yet again. Nagarkoti has been out injured for the last two seasons, and did not play the opener, but has pace and control, and it is only time before Karthik fields him. He is expected to replace Sandeep Warrier, who did not have the best outing against Mumbai Indians.
KKR Predicted Playing XI for IPL 2020:
Sunil Narine, Shubman Gill, Dinesh Karthik (captain and wk), Nitish Rana, Eoin Morgan, Rahul Tripathi, Andre Russell, Pat Cummins, Kuldeep Yadav, Kamlesh Nagarkoti and Shivam Mavi