After a few poor seasons in the beginning of the competition, the Kolkata franchise bounced back in 2012 and went onto win the Indian Premier League twice. Once again they step into this season of IPL having a team with more style and vigor keen to lift the trophy once more. Although they ended with similar points on the table with RCB, they lost a place in the playoff due to their inferior run rate.
They are one of the few franchises that believe in building a team by giving enough time for the players from the hype of the league. They have gone onto show how they can be an even formidable side, without any star players. They seem to have sorted their squad with some shrewd purchases in the mini-auction ahead of IPL 2021. Recognizing talent alongside their already existing established players, KKR will be looking forward to lifting their third trophy.
Today we take a look at the top 5 players expected to lead the franchise with their performances.
Shubman Gill (India)
Coming into the side touted as one for the future, the Indian opener grabbed his opportunity with both hands to display some scintillating performances. He has risen up the ranks, drawing praise from all quarters. With his uncanny ability to keep the runs ticking, he helps provide an ever-steady platform for the team to build on.
He had his best season in his IPL career, last season. He had scored a total of 440 runs at an average of 33.84 although having a strike rate of only 117.96. But he should be looking to improve those numbers, with his recent exposure at the international level. Drawing praise for his heroics with the bat opening the innings for India during the Australian test series. This year could be a more important IPL season, he establishes his name as one the best young batsman in the game.
Shakib Al Hassan (Bangladesh)
One of the star performers for the Bangladesh Cricket team over a decade and counted as one of the best all-rounders of the game. Shakib Al Hassan has gone onto cement his place in the side with some consistent performances throughout the years. A solid batsman who can bat at any position, creating balance for the team, and a handy spin bowler who can pick up crucial wickets.
He was one of the key members of the ex-skipper Gautam Gambhir’s side as KKR won the title in 2012 and 2014. After missing him last year, his addition will be one the franchise will look upon this season. He has scored over 746 runs from 63 matches at a steady strike rate of 126.65 also picking up 53 wickets, keeping an economy of 7.46 tall over his IPL career. With the T20 World Cup just around the corner, the Bangladeshi all-rounder will be looking to make up for his lost time.
Andre Russell (West Indies)
Andre Russell is to KKR, what Kieron Pollard is to Mumbai Indians. His destructive performances with the bat is something that KKR and IPL fans lookout to. He is one of the most dangerous batsmen of the shortest format to turn the game on its head with a blinder of an innings. Also being more than capable with the ball, the West Indian all-rounder has proved his credentials time and again with every passing season of IPL.
With his famed abilities as an all-rounder, the swashbuckling superstar has scored 1517 runs from 74 matches, hitting the ball at a staggering strike rate of 182.33 all around his IPL career. In his best IPL season, when he scored 510 runs from 14 matches, his strike rate was at a whopping 204.81, such was his dominance with the bat. He has also picked up 61 wickets along the way which includes a four-wicket haul. Once more Andre Russell will be looked on to play a crucial role for the team, whether it is chasing targets or setting scores.
Varun Chakravarthy (India)
The Indian leg-spin bowler became something of an overnight sensation when he became the costliest player for the Punjab Kings in the 2019 IPL auctions, also adding to the fact that he is an uncapped player. Well, known for his performances in the local Tamil Nadu performances, the uncapped player with a lot of variations up his sleeve was picked up by the KKR franchise to beef up their spin options.
Having a debut season to forget getting to play only one match, Varun Chakravarthy stood tall with his performances in the last edition of the IPL. Playing 13 matches the leg-spin bowler took 17 wickets, troubling the batsman, and kept a very low economy of 6.84. Since then he was called up to the national side but failed to make it due to injury. With the Indian spinners not in great form in the short formats of the game, he will be keen to throw his name in the mix with some outstanding performances in the IPL this year.
Sunil Narine (West Indies)
The West Indian will be playing his 9th season of IPL for KKR this year and once again he will be expected to lead their bowling attack. His batting talents have also come to the forefront lately, showing his West Indian flair for some quick runs. When his bowling prowess has been on the wane, Sunil Narine overcame his inefficiency with the bat providing blistering starts to his team and becoming a threat early on the innings to the opposition.
The only T20 bowler in the history of T20 to bowl a super over maiden over is a force to be reckoned with. He has picked over 127 wickets from 120 matches keeping the batsman guessing, having a good economy of 6.77 in the batsman-friendly format. Being more capable with the bat in the last couple of seasons, he has scored 892 runs at a blazing strike rate of 164.27. Given his experience in the side of the game, he will be one of the leaders on the pitch for the KKR side.
A team filled with very strong talent and more than capable backups in every position, the management would be expecting a stellar performance this season. Let us know what you think about the team, where you think KKR will end up come the final day, and who will be their stand outperformers.