IPL 2015 Team Preview: Kolkata Knight Riders
Team: Kolkata Knight Riders
Captain: Gautam Gambhir
Best Performance: Winner of 2012 and 2014 editions
Home Ground: Eden Gardens, Kolkata
Last year’s performance: Played 16 Won 11 Lost 5
Last year’s performance: Finished second on the points table
Overall performance: Played 107 Won 53 Lost 51 NR 3
The knights of the last Kolkata Knight Riders won the Indian Premier League title second time after the triumphant journey in 2012. Interestingly enough on both the occasions they won the final beating the odds while chasing scores in excess of 190 on both the occasions. This shows the grittiness and determination they possess and the depth they have in their squad.
On both the occasions it was the youngsters who came on top at a stage when it matter the most. In 2012 it was Manvinder Bisla’s deftness which won the game for KKR and last year it was Manish Pandey’s audaciousness which saw KKR being crowned second time in three years.
In the last season after a decent start (winning two out of the first three) their journey hit a gaping hole in which they lost four matches on trot. They needed to win six of their remaining matches to secure a place in the play offs. As it turned out not only they managed to win all their games henceforth, they secured a second place in the points table enabling them two shots to proceed to Finals.
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Yusuf Pathan came into his own, after having a lacklustre show till then, in the final group match against Sunrisers Hyderabad where he mauled Dale Steyn scoring an impressive 72 off 22 balls ensuring a second place for Kolkata Knight Riders in the process.
Gautam Gambhir has done surprisingly well as a captain for KKR. Not known for his serenity or calmness on the field he has managed to subdue his natural behavior and don a captain’s attire for the team. Seeing him on the field prior to being a captain none could imagine he would become such a good captain in a format where the pendulum swings from one side to other in no time. However, as a batsman he managed to give decent starts but apart from two games failed to convert those.
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Robin Uthappa (top scorer IPL 2014) was central cog in the KKR machinery as he played a pivotal role in the batting line up. He amassed 660 runs at an average of 44 with strike rate of 138.
Talking about team balance, which plays an important role in team’s chances, they are a team with one of the team balance. They have all the bases covered from batting (opening, middle order and hitters) to bowling (pacers and spinners).
Squad for IPL 2015
A successful 2014 edition meant the number of changes in the squad would be minimal. However they have managed to snap up some important players in the auctions this year. Let us take a look at their squad for this edition.
Gautam Gambhir, Andre Russell, Chris Lynn, Kuldeep Yadav, Manish Pandey, Suryakumar Yadav, Morne Morkel, Patrick Cummins, Piyush Chawla, Robin Uthappa, Ryan ten Doeschate, Shakib Al Hasan, Sunil Narine, Umesh Yadav, Veer Pratap Singh, Yusuf Pathan, Azhar Mahmood, Brad Hogg, Aditya Garhwal, Sumit Narwal, KC Cariappa, Vaibhav Rawal, Sheldon Jackson, Johan Botha.
They managed to grab some spinning sensations despite having one in their squad, Sunil Narine. Brad Hogg at the age of 45 has managed to win an IPL contract this year and would hope to strengthen the already formidable spin department of KKR. A new supposedly sensational spinner, KC Cariappa, has also been bought for a whopping Rs 2.4 crores. It will be interesting to see how they fit him in the playing XI which has spinners like Sunil Narine and Piyush Chawla.
Azhar Mahmood, former Pakistan all rounder, was brought in as a replacement for the injured Jimmy Neesham. He could be a valuable player in these conditions for KKR. However choosing four foreign players will be crucial for KKR as they need to do it from Sunil Narine, Morne Morkel, Chris Lynn, Andre Russell, Pat Cummins, Ryan Ten Doeschate, Shakib Al Hasan, Azhar Mahmood, Brad Hogg and Johan Botha.
Given that Shakib is available for the opening two games Andre Russell and Ryan Ten Doeschate might get a look in apart from Sunil Narine and Morne Morkel.
They have formidable line up which has the backup options in case of an injury. The players they have impart the balance to the playing XI with right mix of batsmen, all-rounders and bowlers.
What to expect in IPL 2015
As iterated earlier team balance is the key to success in IPL 2015. We have seen many teams which have one of batting or bowling strong. But here is a team which is in all sense a complete team. Having world class bowlers, all-rounders and batsmen in one team is a rare sight in this tournament and with this formidable line up they are once again gearing up for an impressive show in this edition.
A play offs for the team will be an understatement and will look to go the distance this round too. We might see them play in the final on 24th May.
Kolkata Knight Riders is 15/2 to win the tournament and is currently fourth favorites to win. At this price they are a great value and we recommend to back KKR till play offs.