5th. Two seasons in a row, KKR have lost out on net run-rate. Never convincing last year, managed to pull victory out of jaws of defeat.
The much hyped finishing trio of Dinesh Karthik-Eoin Morgan-Andre Russell did not materialize. Brendon McCullum’s infamous notebook & lack of clarity on their position contributed to the underwhelming year. Oh and the DK-Morgan captaincy switch mid-tournament did not help at all.
The story of the year was Varun Chakravarthy. An architect whose cricket dreams were broken finally found fame with match winning performances. He was even selected for an international cap, but fitness issues kept him back.
Gurkeerat Singh Mann replaces Rinku Singh, who suffered a knee injury. Captain Eoin Morgan also suffered a split webbing in the India vs England series, but is hopeful to be ready by the first match.
Prasidh Krishna. An international cap can definitely raise confidence of a player. Will we see a Prasidh Krishna 2.0 in IPL 2021? With a lack of Indian fast bowlers in the squad, he has to carry the burden on his shoulders.
With their first three games in Chennai, don’t be surprised if KKR picks the experienced Harbhajan Singh–Shakib Al Hasan instead of pace duo of Pat Cummins-Lockie Ferguson. If Shakib can occupy a spot in the top order, then the finishing strength of KKR can finally showcase their abilities.
Can KKR manage to play both Russell and Ben Cutting, especially at Bangalore? With so many international stars in the line up, Ben Cutting might not make everybody’s foreign 4, but can hit the ball a long, long way.
Where Can Things Go Wrong For the Knight Riders?
Plain & Simple. Get the XI right, go to the qualifiers. Keep shuffling and create a ‘fluid middle order, ‘ and get stuck in the middle of the points table.
Maybe one way to go is to have different XIs per venue. Have a spin-filled lineup for Chennai (Pawan Negi, Varun, Kuldeep, Harbhajan, Shakib the options) and pack it with pace in Mumbai (Cummins, Lockie, Ben Cutting, Russell, Mavi, Nagarkoti, Prasidh Krishna, Sandeep Warrier the options).
The scheduling will benefit KKR this season. If they can capitalize on their first three games in Chennai, they will have 5 games at the Chinnaswamy at the backend. Opposition beware. Sixes galore with this lineup.
Kamlesh Nagarkoti to get a full season?
Shakib Al Hasan
Broken Cricket Dream
Dinesh Karthik, the finisher – Can he make India’s World Cup squad of 23? Or have we seen the last of DK in Indian clothing?
Kolkata Knight Riders Preview Predictions
What do you think of the Kolkata Knight Riders Preview? Your First XI? Will they make the IPL 2021 qualifiers?
The Delhi franchise has seen almost all kinds of seasons in the IPL. They have seen the height of the qualifiers & semi-finals, including a run to the final in 2020, as well as rock bottom. Everything except for an IPL victory.
Injury to Shreyas Iyer shifts the planning a little bit, but with Rahane & Steven Smith in the reserves, this should not be a problem. What do you say? Can they go one step further?
2nd. Brilliant start, a steep fall, and a predictable ending—Mumbai Indians edging them in the final. Several positives regardless:
Shikhar Dhawan & Shreyas Iyer dependable with the runs at the top
Marcus Stoinis the finisher coming to the party
The pace duo of Anrich Nortje-Kagiso Rabada giving DC the edge
Injury & COVID-19 News
The Delhi Capitals have been dealt two big blows. The captain, Shreyas Iyer, suffered a shoulder injury during the India Vs England series. He will have his surgery during the IPL and is out of the season.
Rishabh Pant has been appointed the new captain.
In addition, Axar Patel has tested positive for COVID-19 and is in quarantine. Hopefully, he returns in time, but nothing is certain during these times.
Spinners: Amit Mishra, Axar Patel, Manimaran Siddharth, Praveen Dubey
Fast Medium: Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Avesh Khan, Lukman Meriwala
Overseas: Sam Billings, Tom Curran, Shimron Hetmyer, Anrich Nortje, Kagiso Rabada, Steven Smith, Marcus Stoinis, Chris Woakes
Withdrawn: Shreyas Iyer
Predicted DC XI
Due to Patel’s & Iyer’s absence, the balance of the side may change. For the start, I will drop Rabada based on current form and bolster the batting with someone like Steve Smith in the middle order.
Shikhar Dhawan, 2. Prithvi Shaw, 3. Shimron Hetmyer, 4, Steve Smith/ Sam Billings, 5. Rishabh Pant (C/WK), 6. Marcus Stoinis, 7. Ravichandran Ashwin, 8. Amit Mishra, 9. Anrich Nortje, 10. Ishant Sharma, 11. Umesh Yadav
*Axar Patel will slot at #7 if he can return to the squad
Watch Out For
Ravichandran Ashwin – Looks like Ravi Ashwin is having a second wind to his career. A viral YouTube channel, great IPL 2020, followed by a memorable tour of Australia both with the ball and the bat. To cap it off, a century & 9-for in his home ground at Chennai in the England Test series.
With the young Rishabh Pant as captain, the leadership group of Ashwin-Dhawan-Smith-Ishant-Mishra will be quite handy. Pant has been consistently destructive in the Indian colors recently, but can he transfer this form to the IPL?
April 2, 2011—”Dhoni finishes it off in style…India lift the World Cup after 28 years.” Exactly 10 years from the World Cup victory, it is possibly the final time we will see captain MS Dhoni & his eternal partner in crime, Suresh Raina.
After a disappointing 2020 season, do MS Dhoni & Suresh Raina have one final memory for the fans?
Shardul Thakur – Since the historic India vs Australia series, Shardul Thakur has been India’s X-factor, taking crucial wickets in the middle overs. The highest wicket-taker in both the England T20Is & ODIs, he is one to watch out for.
Youngsters – Tamil Nadu won the Syed Mushtaq Ali this year with Hari Nishaanth, Jagadeesan, and S Rai Kishore. With Ruturaj’s coming of age in IPL 2020, these bunch will give CSK the much needed age balance.
Where Can Things Go Wrong For the Super Kings?
The lack of out and out pace – Thakur, Chahar, Sam Curran, & Dwayne Bravo are all smart bowlers, but none have pace to send shivers through the opposition batsmen. With 8/14 of CSKs games at historically high scoring venues of Mumbai & Bangalore, I am not sure if they have enough variation in their attack. Tahir, R Sai Kishore, Jadeja, Gowtham, Moeen Ali, Santner, Karn Sharma would be a dream attack in Chennai, but no home advantage in COVID induced era has thrown their plans off.
*Note: There is no home advantage in IPL 2021. Here is how “Home vs Away” is divided.
10 April: CSK vs DC (Mumbai)
16 April: PBKS vs CSK (Mumbai)
19 April: CSK vs RR (Mumbai)
21 April: KKR vs CSK (Mumbai)
25 April: CSK vs RCB (Mumbai)
28 April: CSK vs SRH (Delhi)
1 May: MI vs CSK (Delhi)
5 May: RR vs CSK (Delhi)
7 May: SRH vs CSK (Delhi)
9 May: CSK vs PBKS (Bangalore)
12 May: CSK vs KKR (Bangalore)
16 May: CSK vs MI (Bangalore)
21 May: DC vs CSK (Kolkata)
23 May: RCB vs CSK (Kolkata)
25 May: Qualifier 1 (Ahmedabad)
26 May: Eliminator (Ahmedabad)
28 May: Qualifier 2 (Ahmedabad)
30 May: Final (Ahmedabad)
Return of Raina, addition of Uthappa/Pujara, & youngsters might bolster the lineup, but the lack of home advantage would be too much to cope with. If they can win a few of the first 5 matches in Mumbai, they should have a settled lineup in Delhi.
Game Plan: Simple. Win at least 3 out of the first 5. Otherwise out of the reckoning early.
R Sai Kishore
Broken Cricket Dream
MS Dhoni, Imran Tahir retire forever?
Chennai Super Kings Preview Predictions
What do you think of the Chennai Super Kings Preview? Your First XI? Will they make the IPL 2021 qualifiers?