Former Indian Premier League champions Kolkata Knight Riders, owned by Shahrukh Khan, is arguably the most widely supported team in IPL. The team, in part due to its owner, is also considered to be the most glamorous team in the league. It was team KKR who kicked-off IPL way back in 2008 courtesy a magnificent innings from Brendon McCullum. Ever since then it is one of the more keenly observed team across the cricketing world.

KKR also has a history of making more noise off the field, be it the multiple captains theory in 2009 by the then coach John Buchanan or owner getting involved in an ugly spat with security guards at Wankhede stadium couple of years down the line.

Champions in the year 2012 under the tutelage of Trevor Bayliss and Gautam Gambhir the duo will once again be looking to repeat the performance of 2012. Team, on paper, looks quite balanced with mixture of youth and experience. They have some explosive players like Uthappa, Chris Lynn who is little known outside Australia. In the bowling department they have the likes of Morne Morkel and a world class spinner, on fact probably the best in T20 cricket – Sunil Narine.  The thing which will aide them most is that first half of IPL will take place in middle-east which will give them a distinct advantage over other teams due to the nature of pitches in Sharjah, Abu Dhabhi, and Dubai. It won’t be a surprised if KKR hits the ground running and take advantage of the conditions which suits them. On the basis of above analysis KKR fans can consider their team among the front-runners this year.

Performance of KKR in IPL:

Season

Position

2008

Sixth

2009

Eight

2010

Sixth

2011

Fourth

2012

Winners

2013

Seventh

 

Team Squad for IPL 2014:

Indian Players:

Batsmen:

 

Bowlers:

All-Rounders:

 

Wicket-Keeper(s):

Overseas Players:

Bowlers:

 

All-Rounders:

Strengths:

  • Presence of top overseas and Indian All-Rounders lends balance to this team.
  • Solid top order comprising of Gambhir, Kallis, and Robin Uthappa.
  • Presence of Shakib Al-Hasan, world’s finest all-rounder at the moment makes them favourite on low and slow pitches of middle-east.
  • KKR have world international spinners in form of Sunil Narine and Piyush Chawla.
  • Pat Cummins and Morne Morkel can be lethal with the new ball.
  • CSK are a well settled all-round team perfect for slam-bang cricket.
  • Their main strength is presence of 4-5 All-Rounders in their line-up which boosts the team balance.

Weakness:

  • Lack of good fast bowler at the death overs as Morkel and Cummisn both can travel the distance in final few overs.
  • Absence of solid batsman in middle overs and a good finisher like Eoin Morgan could cost them this season.         

Players to watch out for:

Shakib Al-Hasan:

Arguably the greatest cricketer Bangladesh have ever produced Shakib al-Hasan is one of the finest all-rounders of his generation. Currently ranked no.2 in the world Shakib is a lethal all-rounder who can win you matches with either disciplined. Looking at the squad one thing is certain: Gambhir will heavily rely on his services as a finisher with the bat and as an attacking option with the ball. If Shakib manages to live up to his reputation KKR will have a chance for a top 4 finish at least.

Sunil Narine:

Mystery spinner Sunil Narine is a champion bowler when it comes to T20 cricket. There are very few who possess as many tricks as the wily Trinidadian has. Be it the doosra, the off-spinner, the knuckle ball, top-spinner – you name it he will produce those on the spot. He is equally adaptable bowling in the powerplays and at the death. He has a hat-trick to his name as well. Narine is the X-factor on whose shoulders depend the fortunes of KKR. Sunil Narine is extremely miser. He is extremely difficult to get runs off as his Economy rate of 5.40 T20 cricket suggests.

Possible Playing XI:

Gautam Gambhir, Robin Uthappa, Jacques Kallis, Shakib Al-Hasan, Chris Lynn, Yusuf Pathan, Piyush Chawla, Sayan Mondal, Kuldeep Yadav, Sunil Narine, Umesh Yadav

2014 IPL Schedule:

Match No.

Date

Opponent

Venue

Time

1

April 16

Mumbai Indians

Abu Dhabi

8:00 PM

2

April 19

Delhi Daredevils

Dubai

8:00 PM

3

April 24

Royal Challengers Bangalore

Sharjah

8:00 PM

4

April 26

Kings XI Punjab

Abu Dhabi

8:00 PM

5

April 29

Rajasthan Royals

Abu Dhabi

8:00 PM

6

May 2

Chennai Super Kings

Ranchi

8:00 PM

7

May 5

Rajasthan Royals

Ahmedabad

4:00 PM

8

May 7

Delhi Daredevils

Delhi

4:00 PM

9

May 11

Kings XI Punjab

Cuttack

8:00 PM

10

May 14

Mumbai Indians

Kolkata

8:00 PM

11

May 18

Sunrisers Hyderabad

Hyderabad

8:00 PM

12

May 20

Chennai Super Kings

Kolkata

8:00 PM

13

May 22

Royal Challengers Bangalore

Kolkata

4:00 PM

14

May 24

Sunrisers Hyderabad

Kolkata

4:00 PM

*All the match times are in IST