Kolkata Knight Riders will be determined to match the success of Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings in the IPL in the 2019 edition. (Image credit: Twitter)
From a rough start in the first three editions of the Indian Premier League, Kolkata Knight Riders are now the top teams in this competition. Under Gautam Gambhir, they registered a renaissance in their fortunes and they hit jackpot in 2012 when they won the title defeating the Chennai Super Kings in their own turf at Chepauk. More glory followed in 2014 with a win over Kings XI Punjab in Bangalore but since then, they have made it to the play-offs only to lose key moments and crash out in either the qualifier or in the eliminator. The side will have a new captain in Dinesh Karthik and he will be determined to put up a good show in this competition in order to enhance his chances of playing in the Indian cricket team for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.
The squad has a settled look and with match-winners like Chris Lynn, Sunil Narine and Andre Russell in the squad, the side are not short of power hitters. The injuries to Kamlesh Nagarkoti and Shivam Mavi have thinned the bowling line-up but they have back-up in Sandeep Warrier, the Kerala pacer who was in great form in the domestic season and KC Cariappa, the mystery spinner. With the addition of Lockie Ferguson in the side, the pace department is also sorted. Carlos Brathwaite, who became ‘remember the name’ for hitting four sixes to help West Indies win the World T20 in 2016 against England at the Eden Gardens will be the star attraction in the side.
For 2019, the blueprint for KKR will be simple. Karthik’s side will be hoping to avoid buckling under pressure in the play-offs while they will be wanting to win more consistently against the Mumbai Indians, having won just five out of 21 encounters against them.
Kolkata Knight Riders squad
Joe Denly, Shrikant Mundhe, Piyush Chawla, Prithvi Raj Yarra, Nikhil Naik (wk), Carlos Brathwaite, Kuldeep Yadav, Harry Gurney, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Andre Russell, Anrich Nortje, Robin Uthappa (wk), Sunil Narine, Lockie Ferguson, Chris Lynn, Nitish Rana, Prasidh Krishna, Shubman Gill, KC Cariappa, Rinku Singh, Sandeep Warrier
Kolkata Knight Riders back room staff
Head coach: Jacques Kallis
Assistant coach: Simon Katich
Mentor: Abhishek Nayar
Fast bowling coach: Omkar Salvi
Spin bowling coach: Carl Crowe
Physiotherapist: Andrew Leipus
Physical trainer: Adrian Le Roux
Data and video analyst: AR Srikkanth
Indian players to watch out
Dinesh Karthik: A lot will be riding on Karthik in this edition of the IPL. A great performance could see him pip Rishabh Pant for the back-up keeper’s slot for the 2019 World Cup while his position as a leader boosts his chances in the long run.
Nitish Rana: The youngster has made good progress for Delhi in the domestic circuit, getting elevation as the captain of the side in 2018 in the Ranji Trophy. A solid performance for Mumbai Indians in the 2017 IPL and another solid show could keep him in the hunt for a spot in the Indian cricket team after the end of the World Cup.
International players to watch out
Lockie Ferguson: He bowls in excess of 145 kmph. He is accurate and he could be New Zealand’s trump card in the World Cup. Ferguson will enjoy himself on the Eden wickets which have helped pacers in the past.
Carlos Brathwaite: He is the ultimate power-hitter, known for hitting more sixes than boundaries. Brathwaite will be hoping to give KKR the finishing boost and his smart bowling will be of great importance to the side in the middle overs.
2011: 4th (Eliminator)
2016: 4th (Eliminator)
2017: 3rd (2nd qualifier)
2018: 3rd (2nd qualifier)