The Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) will be looking to turn around their fortunes in the IPL 2021 edition which will be played from April 9- May 30 across six cities in India.
They missed out on playoffs qualification after an indifferent season in IPL 2020 in UAE, which also saw them changing captains mid-season, as Dinesh Karthik stepped down and as it was expected from the moment when KKR bought Eoin Morgan in the IPL 2020 auction, the Irishman and England white-ball captain was given the reins of the team.
Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) will play their first match of the IPL 2020 against Sunrisers Hyderabad on April 11 in Chennai.
In the IPL 2021 auction, Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) welcomed Shakib Al Hasan back into the camp by buying him for Rs 3.20 crores. The KKR also bought Harbhajan Singh and Ben Cutting for their base prices. Other Indian players joining the team are Sheldon Jackson, Pawan Negi, Venkatesh Iyer, and Vaibhav Arora.
Keeping in mind the squad of the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), COC Presents to you the Best Playing XI for their first match of the IPL 2021.
KKR has a plethora of choices for openers with only Shubman Gill potentially having a fixed spot at the top. To partner with him, KKR can count on Sunil Narine, Rahul Tripathi, Sheldon Jackson, and even Nitish Rana.
Sheldon Jackson can also be a great pick given his amazing numbers in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy 2020-21.
Turning out for Puducherry, Jackson slammed 242 runs in 5 matches with one century- 106* and one fifty. His strike-rate was 155.12 and he hit 20 fours and 13 sixes in the tournament.
Rahul Tripathi might be the logical choice here, but he had an indifferent IPL 2020 when he was asked to open after playing as a finisher.
Nitish Rana, Eoin Morgan, and Dinesh Karthik are more or less confirmed as the middle order of the KKR playing XI. Nitish Rana also provides them with a spinning option if any of the main bowlers have a bad day.
As for the finishers, KKR has Andre Russell and Shakib Al Hasan to deal with the opposition bowling attacks. Russell had a poor IPL 2020 as he struggled with both the bat and ball and also with his fitness.
Shakib Al Hasan used to perform this role for the KKR team back in the old days and he might be preferred over Sunil Narine, who seemed to be off-color in IPL 2020 in the UAE.
The spot of the second spinner may go to either Varun Chakravarthy, Kuldeep Yadav, and Pawan Negi. Chakravarthy was their best bowler in IPL 2020, picking the only fifer in that edition of IPL. Pawan Negi also brings his batting to the table as well.
Pat Cummins and Prasidh Krishna are the first-choice fast bowling options for KKR, while they have the option of picking the third seamer from Shivam Mavi, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, and Sandeep Warrier.
KKR also has the option of having Ben Cutting and Lockie Ferguson as foreign fast bowlers to choose from as well.
KKR must be itching to get back onto the field and make a beeline for the playoffs and possibly the final to redeem themselves of the poor performances in the last two IPL editions.
COC predicted best playing IPL 2021 XI for KKR:
Shubman Gill, Sheldon Jackson, Nitish Rana, Eoin Morgan (C), Dinesh Karthik (WK), Andre Russell, Shakib Al Hasan, Pat Cummins, Prasidh Krishna, Varun Chakravarthy, Shivam Mavi