The last decade witnessed Kolkata Knight Riders become one of the most successful franchises in the history of IPL. The decision to go clean slate in the 2011 auctions and rope in Gautam Gambhir as their captain, and pick economical match-winning players as per the rules of moneyball helped them forge a team that won the titles in 2012 and 2014.
Although they failed to make it to the knockouts in IPL 2019, taking a look at the current squad post the IPL 2020 auction, one could say they will surely bounce back stronger, and if everything goes as per the plan, they could possibly end up winning their 3rd title in the upcoming edition.
Let’s have a look at four reasons why KKR could win in IPL 2020 –
English hard-hitters in Tom Banton and Eoin Morgan
KKR is truly fortunate to have a player like Eoin Morgan, the 2019 World Cup winning captain, potent in turning the games from nowhere in his team’s favor.
The match against Afghanistan wherein he smashed 17 sixes gave the World a glimpse of his hitting ability.
As a leader of one of the strongest sides in international cricket, Morgan’s inputs under crunch situations could be of immense help to skipper Dinesh Karthik in the upcoming season. Though he hasn’t had a great run in the earlier editions of IPL, there’s a strong hunch that the numbers are going to change this season.
To assist him in big-hitting is another Englishman – Tom Banton.
Banton had an impressionable run in BBL 2019-20 wherein he amassed over 200 runs in the limited matches at a strike rate of over 170 with 3 fifties.
If Tom Banton and Eoin Morgan manage to get going from the early stages, then KKR will have a good chance of making way into the knockouts and subsequently the finals.
Plenty of batting options
KKR can easily boast of possessing some of the finest Indian batters for the forthcoming edition of IPL.
Shubhman Gill as an opener is, by far, one of the best decisions by KKR. He averages over 40 as an opener and proved his mettle by scoring fifties in crunch matches. Rahul Tripathi, another exciting Indian prospect at the top-order, who could score those 30s and 40s.
Then there’s Nitish Rana who is a proven match-winner on his day. Rinku Singh hasn’t had many opportunities, but, he has been on a hitting spree in the domestic formats, and thus, he could pose a threat for the rivals if he stitches a formidable partnership.
Finishing ability of Andre Russell and Dinesh Karthik
All eyes have been on Dinesh Karthik – The Finisher, post his Nidahas heroics in 2018, where he scored 29* off 8 deliveries, finishing the match with a six off the final delivery.
He has enormous talent on board, however, he will have to lead from the front by finishing matches for the 2-time champions.
Karthik has been with KKR since 2018, and has scored 751 runs in 29 innings, at an average and strike rate of 41.72 and 147.25 respectively.
To accompany him in finishing matches would be West Indian all-rounder Andre Russell.
Dre Russ was at his destructive best, never seen avatar, in IPL 2019. The all-rounder averaged 56.66 in 14 matches and blasted 510 runs at a strike rate of 200-plus. He managed to pick 11 wickets, while averaging just under 27.
If Dinesh Karthik’s in a good touch and gets the assistance of Andre Russell, then it would be difficult for any bowling attack to curb their hitting ability.
Pat Cummins spearheading the bowling attack
Cummins was the highest bid during the IPL 2020 auction, as he was bought for a whopping 15.5 crore by the Kolkata Knight Riders.
The last he played in IPL was with Delhi Daredevils in 2017, where he scalped 17 wickets in 12 T20s at an average of 24.86.
However, the right arm bowler has been on a roll since 2019.
Be it the Tests, ODIs or T20Is, Cummins has been Australia’s go-to man in each format. The pace and bounce that he generates could pose a threat to the batsmen amidst the conditions of UAE.
Not to forget, there’s going to be either Lockie Ferguson or Prasidh Krishna, in helping him unsettle the batsmen and affect dismissals.