Kolkata Knight Riders began IPL 1 with a bang, registering a thumping 140 run win over Royal Challengers Bangalore but ended the tournament with a proverbial whimper. Failure assisted by inconsistent performances succeeded failure and was followed by controversies, with experimentation with the captaincy and Ganguly’s sacking drawing media attention.
The squad got rolling at long last in IPL 4, under new skipper Gautam Gambhir, and reached the semi-finals, thereby booking a slot in the Champions League qualifiers. Kolkata have got past the qualification hurdle and have been placed in Group B alongside Bangalore. One of the glamour teams of the IPL, KKR will want to boost their popularity among their die-hard fans with a title-winning turn in the Champions League. But that ambition has taken a body blow even before the start pof the main event, with Gambhir side-lined, as he is yet to recover from a concussion the opener sustained on the England Tour. KKR will also miss Eoin Morgan, and in the absence of Gambhir, Kallis will skipper the side.
The Knights strong battng line-up is led by Kallis who is arguably one of the greatest players to grace the game and brings his all-round ability to bear, on on-field proceedings. Bangladesh’s Shakib Hassan is another player who brings great balance to the side with his batting and bowling alike. Shakib is particularly effective as a finisher, with his ability to go after rival bowling attacks in the death overs
A prospective player for India, Manoj Tiwary, previously with Delhi, followed Gambhir to KKR, in 2010. His batting and fielding will add considerably to KKR’s winability. Yusuf Pathan’s batting potential is the stuff of legend, and his presence in the team is a huge psychological boost; his strike rate of 159.71 is enough to daunt the best of bowlers. KKR have a potent batting lineup with both their keepers, Brad Haddin and Manvinder Singh Bisla being explosive hitters.
Brett Lee with his lightning pace and bouncer and yorker variations leads a talented bowling attack that includes young India prospect Jaidev Unadkat. Lakshmipathy Balaji returning from injury in IPL 4 displayed glimpses of the form that made him one of India’s bowling spearheads a few years ago, and his guile, especially in change of pace, will prove a useful asset for KKR.
Ryan Neil ten Doeschate, who did brilliantly in the ODI world cup for Holland adds all-round strength to the Kolkata squad whose bowling is likely to benefit most from the exploits of the trio of Iqbal Abdullah, Shakib Al Hasan and Yusuf Pathan, whose spin could give KKR the winning edge, on sub-continental wickets. The bowlers have the expert guidance of Pakistan legend Wasim Akram to back them up.
The team: Gautam Gambhir, Manoj Tiwary, Jaidev Unadkat, Lakshmipathy Balaji, Iqbal Abdullah, Brett Lee, Mohammad Shami Ahmed, Brad Haddin, Manvinder Singh Bisla, Jaques Kallis, Yusuf Pathan, Ryan ten Doeschate, Shakib Al Hassan, Rajat Bhatia.
About the Author (Author Profile)
Jinxatious is the Chief Editor of SportingAttitude.com
An avid writer, on an eclectic range of subjects, he brings to bear editorial experience garnered with a national newspaper in South-East Asia. He also has sportscasting experience, as a cricket commentator, and his passion for sport extends beyond Cricket, to Football, Tennis, and Olympic Sports.