The Indian Premier League (IPL) team, Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) are looking all set for the 15th edition of the upcoming season. The two-time champions and IPL 2021 runners-up, have changed their leader and will aim to conquer their third IPL title.
The Kolkata-based franchise has a history of having match-winners in their squad. KKR managed to hold on to its core ahead of the upcoming edition which will be useful in team bonding as Venkatesh Iyer, Varun Chakravarthy, Pat Cummins, and Andre Russell have all spent time together in the UAE. Furthermore, the skipper Shreyas Iyer walks into the side in great shape. He recently scored three consecutive fifties against Sri Lanka. Moreover, he is a natural captain, having led the Delhi Capitals (DC) to the playoffs in 2019 and final in 2020.
The fans will be hoping for some match-winning performances from their stars to lead KKR towards another IPL title. Let’s take a look at the three key players for KKR in the tournament’s 15th edition:
- Andre Russell
The big man from the West Indies has helped KKR win many games from seemingly impossible situations. Andre Russell has been named Man of the Tournament twice in his IPL career. Russell has recently suffered from hamstring and knee injuries, which have hampered his performance over the last two years. With 1700 runs in 70 innings with a strike rate of 178.57, Russell’s explosive batting skill will be crucial for KKR along with his services with the ball.
Russell played for the Melbourne Stars in the recently concluded Big Bash League (BBL) and has appeared to be in good shape. The KKR team will expect the same from the big man, who has been a key player for the club for over six seasons.
2. Sunil Narine
With his spin bowling, the mystery man can fool any batsman and With the bat in hand, Sunil Narine can smash any bowler. Not to mention Narine has his name registered in the list of fastest IPL fifties. His form has recently dipped, but he still managed to pick up 16 wickets last year. He was retained ahead of the IPL mega auction as he was a key player in the team’s title-winning seasons.
Over the years, Sunil Narine has scored 954 runs at a mammoth strike rate of 161.69. Once he gets going, then there’s no stopping for this man. With the ball, the mystery spinner has gathered 143 wickets in his IPL career.
3. Shreyas Iyer
The newly appointed KKR captain is in excellent form. In the recently concluded T20I series against Sri Lanka, Shreyas Iyer was named Man of the Series. Iyer was also named ICC Player of the Month. He is currently at the top of his game, and the pitch conditions in Mumbai favours the batsmen that offer some pace.
Iyer is a good spin and pace player who can hit the ball a long way. With matches taking place in Mumbai and Pune, which are arguably not as large as other Indian grounds, a stroke player of his level can change the game on his own. Over the last four years, he has been a consistent performer in the IPL, scoring 300 or more runs in each season. When Iyer is on the crease, he ensures that the middle overs aren’t just passing overs. The youngster has gathered 2375 runs in his IPL career with an average of 31.67.
The Knight Riders will take on the defending champions, Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the opening match of IPL 2022 at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on March 26.