After a mixed performance in the last season, the Knight Riders from Kolkata would be looking to up the ante when they kick-off their 2021 campaign against the Sunrisers Hyderabad in Chennai on 11 April. In the last edition, they were a sort of late bloomers as they failed to find consistency in the first half, and despite securing some close wins in the latter part of the competition, they were unable to make it to the top four.
KKR team would be hoping to put their ordinary run of 2020 behind and start afresh this season. How’s the build-up ahead of their tournament opener? Let us find out here.
The KKR Team
Heading into the auction, they only had INR 10.75 Cr left in their purse. They had to be canny in their approach, and that’s what they did. The KKR squad git bolstered by the return of Bangladesh’s prolific all-rounder Shakib Al Hassan for whom they invested the most i.e. 3.2 Crores. Also, they needed some solidity from Indian players in the middle-order, and Karnataka’s Karun Nair seemed to be their best option.
The two-time champions also made some smart and pocket-friendly buys in Pawan Negi, prolific Venkatesh Iyer, Ben Cutting, and veteran Harbhajan Singh. Below is the list of purchases made by the KKR team in the auction.
- Shakib Al Hassan (Bangladesh) – Rs 3.20 Cr
- Ben Cutting (Australia)– ₹75 Lakh
- Harbhajan Singh – ₹2 Cr
- Sheldon Jackson – ₹20 Lakh
- Vaibhav Arora – ₹20 Lakh
- Pawan Negi – ₹50 Lakh
- Venkatesh Iyer – ₹20 Lakh
- Karun Nair – ₹50 Lakh
KKR team has opted for two overseas and five Indian talents in the IPL 2021 auctions.
Players to watch out
Andre Russell and injuries have always sailed on the same ship. His untimely injuries in the last season caused KKR many games, and they couldn’t find a hold on anything. Also, the lackluster form of their biggest buy Pat Cummins pulled them down. The right-arm pacer could only manage nine wickets from 14 games, out of which four came in their final league game against Rajasthan Royals.
Nevertheless, keeping the last year’s disappointment aside, the KKR team will rely heavily on the likes of Shubman Gill, Nitish Rana, Eoin Morgan, Dinesh Karthik, and the big Jamaican Andre Russell in the batting lineup. These names are the game changers with the bat, and their batting revolves around these names. As far as bowling is concerned, Pat Cummins, Kuldeep Yadav, Shivam Mavi, express pacer Lockie Ferguson, and Varun Chakravarthy will hold the key. With the veteran Harbhajan Singh also joining the camp, they have definitely bolstered their spin department. Shakib Al Hassan and Ben Cutting’s inclusion in the KKR squad will give them a cushion with both bat and ball, especially when Sunil Narine and Andre Russell may face injury concerns. All-in-all they have got all their bases covered in terms of bench strength which was lacking last season.
KKR Scheduled Matches For IPL 2021
Kolkata Knight Riders won’t be playing at the Eden Gardens this time around. Rather they will be playing five games in Bangalore, four in Ahmedabad, three in Chennai, and two in Mumbai. Below is their full schedule,
Match 1: Kolkata Knight Riders VS Sunrisers Hyderabad, April 11, Chennai, 7:30 PM
Match 2: Mumbai Indians VS Kolkata Knight Riders, April 13, Chennai, 7:30 PM
Match 3: Kolkata Knight Riders VS Royal Challengers Bangalore, April 18, Chennai, 3:30 PM
Match 4: Chennai Super Kings VS Kolkata Knight Riders, April 21, Mumbai, 7:30 PM
Match 5: Rajasthan Royals VS Kolkata Knight Riders, April 24, Mumbai, 7:30 PM
Match 6: Kolkata Knight Riders VS Punjab Kings, April 26, Ahmedabad 7:30 PM
Match 7: Kolkata Knight Riders VS Delhi Capitals, April 29, Ahmedabad, 7:30 PM
Match 8: Kolkata Knight Riders VS Royal Challengers Bangalore, May 3, Ahmedabad, 7:30 PM
Match 9: Delhi Capitals VS Kolkata Knight Riders, May 8, Ahmedabad, 3:30 PM
Match 10: Kolkata Knight Riders VS Mumbai Indians, May 10, Bengaluru, 7:30 PM
Match 11: Kolkata Knight Riders VS Chennai Super Kings, Bengaluru, May 12, 7:30 PM
Match 12: Punjab Kings VS Kolkata Knight Riders, May 15, Bengaluru, 7:30 PM
Match 13: Kolkata Knight Riders VS Rajasthan Royals, May 18, Bengaluru, 3:30 PM
Match 14: Kolkata Knight Riders VS Surisers Hyderabad, May 21, Bengaluru, 3:30 PM
KKR Expected Playing Eleven For The First Game Against SRH
- Shubman Gill
- Nitish Rana
- Rahul Tripathi
- Eoin Morgan (C)
- Dinesh Karthik
- Andre Russell
- Sunil Narine/Shakib Al Hassan
- Patrick Cummins
- Harbhajan Singh/Kuldeep Yadav
- Varun Chakravarthy
- Shivam Mavi
KKR team will be playing their opening two games at the Chepauk, which has the reputation of being a rank turner. Therefore, we could see three spinners making it to the eleven, with Varun Chakravarthy being the first choice spinner.
Complete KKR Team Squad For IPL 2021
Eoin Morgan (C), Dinesh Karthik, Nitish Rana, Shubman Gill, Rinku Singh, Rahul Tripathi, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Pat Cummins, Harbhajan Singh, Tim Seifert, Shakib Al Hasan, Pawan Negi, Andre Russell, Prasidh Krishna, Kuldeep Yadav, Lockie Ferguson, Sandeep Warrier, Shivam Mavi, Varun Chakravarthy, Sunil Narine, Sheldon Jackson, Vaibhav Arora, Karun Nair, Ben Cutting, Venkatesh Iyer
Time to wrap up: KKR didn’t look stable at all in the entire season in 2020. Change in captaincy, the struggling form of big guns like Pat Cummins, Dinesh Karthik, Andre Russell, and Sunil Narine cost them a lot. Nevertheless, on a new day, they will look to shrug off their disappointments from the last season and start the 2021 campaign with more self-belief and confidence.