The absence of Pat Cummins, the focus as we look at the best playing 11 for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) for the second leg of IPL 2021 in UAE.
The Kolkata Knight Riders didn’t have a blockbuster start to their IPL 2021 campaign as they were strangled at the number 7 position. They could only manage 2 wins from 7 games as they ended the first half with just 4 points at a Net Run Rate of -0.494.
While the KKR face the herculean task to win at least 6 of their remaining 7 matches, the team suffered a big blow as their pace spearhead, Pat Cummins decided to opt-out of the second leg of IPL 2021 due to personal reasons. As a replacement, KKR roped in Kiwi Pacer, Tim Southee, who is currently in the form of his life.
With Pat Cummins out of the squad, there are definitely going to be changes in the final playing 11. So, what could be the best possible playing 11 for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) for the second leg of IPL 2021? Let’s find out in this article. Before that, let’s quickly skim through KKR’s squad for IPL 2021.
IPL 2021 UAE Final Squad for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR)
Batsmen: Dinesh Karthik (WK), Eoin Morgan (C), Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Karun Nair, Nitish Rana, Rahul Tripathi, Sheldon Jackson, Shubman Gill, and Tim Seifert
All-rounders: Andre Russell, Ben Cutting, Pawan Negi, Shakib Al Hasan, Sunil Narine, and Venkatesh Iyer
Bowlers: Harbhajan Singh, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Kuldeep Yadav, Lockie Ferguson, Prasidh Krishna, Sandeep Warrier, Shivam Mavi, Vaibhav Arora, Tim Southee, and Varun Chakravarthy
Openers: Shubman Gill & Rahul Tripathi
KKR opened with Shubman Gill and Nitish Rana for all 7 matches so far in IPL 2021. While Rana did manage to score a few decent knocks to start with, Shubman Gill has struggled in 6 of the 7 matches so far. As a result, KKR never had a successful opening partnership in the tournament.
Rahul Tripathi, on the other hand, played good cameos coming at number 3. While Nitish Rana may open with Rahul Tripathi at 3, KKR should do the reverse. This will give them an aggressive Tripathi in the powerplay along with the slow starter, Shubman Gill as the second opener. Also, Nitish Rana has done well at 3, and can add more value to that position.
The team can also think of playing Shubman Gill at number 3 by giving him the consolidator role. Given the slow starts Shubman Gill has provided, it won’t be a bad idea either. This will give a left-right combination at the top with aggressive Rahul Tripathi and calculative Nitish Rana.
Middle-order: Nitish Rana, Eoin Morgan, Andre Russell & Dinesh Karthik
As said above, either Shubman Gill or Nitish Rana can play at number 3 with the preference to the latter. The combination of Nitish Rana, Eoin Morgan, Andre Russell, and Dinesh Karthik makes this middle-order one of the strongest in the competition. However, the capability is never an issue for this explosive middle-order, but their performance is.
Eoin Morgan, Andre Russell, and Dinesh Karthik have combined scored only 378 runs from 21 innings at an average of 20. That’s a horrible performance from the most senior guys in the team. Only if they can live up to the expectations, there won’t be no stopping them.
All-rounders: Andre Russell & Sunil Narine
The combination of Andre Russell and Sunil Narine as the batting and bowling all-rounder has always paid dividends. However, KKR have been more successful when Narine is being played as an opener, and Russell is being played at 5 or above. While Russell can definitely be promoted up the order, Narine will most-probably be seen as a floater.
On the bowling front, Russell managed a spell of 5/15 in just 2 overs and has done a good job. Whereas Narine was decent in the 4 matches he played. With UAE, Narine’s role will be effective once again. Russell, meanwhile, shall be used more as a death overs bowler.
Bowlers: Lockie Ferguson, Prasidh Krishna, Shivam Mavi & Varun Chakravarthy
The absence of Pat Cummins from the squad means Lockie Ferguson has to play as the pace spearhead for KKR. The Kiwi pacer has done well in the limited opportunity he has got playing for KKR. While Pat Cummins’ batting may not be replicated by Lockie, he is definitely a potent bowler, and can add more meat in the death bowling department.
The Indian pace duo of Prasidh Krishna and Shivam Mavi shall lead the pace bowling duties alongside Lockie Ferguson. While Prasidh has the International experience, Mavi is one of the potent youngsters in the squad, who has been performing well. If Prasidh Krishna or Shivam Mavi doesn’t fire, the team can also look at Kamlesh Nagarkoti and Sandeep Warrier.
Coming to the spinner spot, it will once again be none other than Varun Chakravarthy. He has been KKR’s leading spinner since 2020, and still continues to do so. He currently has 7 wickets from 7 innings, and has all the chance of bettering his previous record of 17 wkts. Meanwhile, the team can also look at Harbhajan Singh or Kuldeep Yadav if the pitch offers spin.
Best Playing 11 for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) for Second Leg of IPL 2021 in UAE:
Rahul Tripathi, Shubman Gill, Nitish Rana, Eoin Morgan (C), Andre Russell, Dinesh Karthik (WK), Sunil Narine, Lockie Ferguson, Shivam Mavi, Varun Chakravarthy & Prasidh Krishna
So, that completes the best possible playing 11 for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) for the second leg of IPL 2021 in UAE. Overall, they have 9 spots almost confirmed, and will only have to worry about the only 2 spots. Apart from the above-mentioned ones, KKR can also try the following combinations depending on the pitch and conditions.
- Tim Seifert for Sunil Narine to bolster the batting
- Shakib Al Hasan or Ben Cutting for Sunil Narine to give more teeth in the all-round department depending on the situation.
- Tim Southee for Sunil Narine and Karun Nair or Venkatesh Iyer for Shivam Mavi
- Kuldeep Yadav or Harbhajan Singh for Shivam Mavi for spin-friendly conditions.
Thanks for reading! What’s your playing 11 for KKR for IPL 2021 in UAE? Please email your thoughts to email@example.com
Adesh Kothari is the founder of AK4Tsay1 Cricalytics.
Cricket to him is like what ‘Football is to Lionel Messi’, ‘Singing is to Lata Mangeshkar’, ‘Dancing is to Michael Jackson’, and what ‘Acting is to Clint Eastwood’.
Besides his effervescent love for Cricket, Adesh is an MBA by qualification.