After MI and CSK, KKR is the third most successful IPL franchise. They have won the trophy twice in 2012 and 2014. But after those victorious campaigns, they have not been able to make a mark in the upcoming editions. They also had a struggling tournament in 2022. Now is their chance to get back to their best. Here, we will analyze the highs and lows of the KKR 2023 squad. We will also predict their chances in the upcoming edition.
So, let’s begin.
KKR Squad 2023
The Kolkata-based franchise has selected the following players for this edition of IPL:
Venkatesh Iyer, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Shreyas Iyer(c), Nitish Rana, Rinku Singh, Mandeep Singh, Litton Das, N Jagadeesan, Andre Russell, Anukul Roy, David Wiese, Shakib Al Hasan, Shardul Thakur, Lockie Ferguson, Tim Southee, Harshit Rana, Umesh Yadav, Vaibhav Arora, Kulwant Khejroliya, Sunil Narine, Varun Chakravarthy, Suyash Sharma
Kolkata Knight Riders Likely Starting XI
KKR’s best XI in 2023 will look like this:
- Venkatesh Iyer
- N Jagadeesan (wk)
- Shreyas Iyer (c)
- Nitish Rana
- Rinku Singh
- Andre Russell
- David Wiese
- Sunil Narine
- Shardul Thakur
- Tim Southee
- Varun Chakravarthy
KKR Squad Strengths
The two strongest points in the Knight Riders squad are:
A Long Batting Lineup
This year, we might see a new opening pair for the Kolkata Knight Riders. Venkatesh Iyer and Narayan Jagdessan could feature at the top for them. Venkatesh made his IPL debut in 2021 for the same franchise. He impressed everyone with his all-round ability. In that season, he scored 370 runs at an average of 41.11 and a strike rate of 128.47. These performances even earned him a call-up for India’s white ball team. But, IPL 2022 was a struggling season for him. His 182 runs in the tournament came at a below-par average of 16.55 and 107.69.
His probable opening partner is a rising star in India’s domestic circuit. Narayan Jagdessan has played 7 IPL games so far, scoring 73 runs at a strike rate of 119.4. He averages 32.5 in domestic T20 cricket. The skipper, Shreyas Iyer, may follow the opening pair in the batting order. He will act as a glue in KKR’s batting. Iyer has been a part of 8 IPL editions till now. He has amassed 2776 runs at an average of 31.55 and an SR of 125.38. In the previous season, he scored 401 runs for KKR while averaging 30.85 and 134.56.
Nitish Rana will be an important middle-order player for the Knight Riders. After playing his first couple of IPL editions for Mumbai Indians, Nitish moved to Kolkata and is still playing for them. In his 5 seasons for the franchise, he has accumulated 1744 runs at a strike rate of 135.61. He has scored more than 300 runs in each of these 5 seasons, which tells about his consistency.
Then, KKR have Rinku Singh, who is their own product. He has featured in 4 seasons for the franchise, but he was given a proper chance in IPL 2022. He played 7 matches and scored 174 runs at an average of 34.8. His strike rate was 148.72, and he played some crucial knocks. His best innings of the tournament was a 15-ball 40 against the Lucknow Super Giants. After him, Andre Russell, David Wiese, and Sunil Narine will follow in the batting order. Kolkata also have Shardul Thakur and Tim Southee, who are more than handy as sloggers. Therefore, the Knight Riders will bat as deep as till the #10.
3 World Class All Rounders
The KKR Team Preview has completely changed over the years. Almost all of their star players are gone now. But the two constants for the Knight Riders have been Andre Russell and Sunil Narine. The two superstars will represent them once more in 2023, and their stats are sufficient to tell why the franchise doesn’t want to leave them.
Narine joined the franchise in 2012, and KKR Team Preview became champions twice in his first 3 seasons. His number of wickets in those 3 tournaments was 24, 22, and 21. He has played 148 matches for the franchise across 11 seasons. His 152 IPL wickets have come at the expense of 6.63 runs per over. He is undoubtedly the best KKR bowler in history. With the bat, he has got 1025 runs at a blazing strike rate of 162.7.
Andre Russell is one of the greatest IPL finishers of all time. He has smacked 2035 runs in the league at an average of 30.37. But it’s his strike rate of 177.88 that sets him apart. In his 98 matches, he has also taken 89 wickets for the franchise at an economy rate of 9.14. With the addition of David Wiese to the squad, KKR Team Preview now have 3 top all-rounders in their potential playing XI. Wiese has 3724 T20 runs and 259 T20 wickets to his name. Due to these 3 all-rounders, the Knight Riders will have 7 bowling options.
KKR Squad Weaknesses
The two weak spots in this squad are:
The top 5 batsmen in Kolkata’s batting order are relatively inexperienced. The top order and middle order of the team are dependent on these batters. Although Shreyas Iyer, Venkatesh Iyer, and Nitish Rana have been around for a while, there is an absence of a veteran batsman in their lineup.
Lack of Venom in Pace Bowling
Shardul Thakur and Tim Southee will be the two lead pacers of the KKR Team Preview bowling. Andre Russell and David Wiese will provide two more options. All of these 4 pacers are not express pace and don’t offer the option of having a tearaway fast bowler.
Players To Watch Out
If you are a KKR fan, keep an eye on these players:
The left-hander will be one of the most important batsmen in his side’s batting lineup. The current price of his PCs is ₹142.
Narine has been an integral part of this team for many years now. He is capable of making an impact with both bat and ball. His stocks could be bought for ₹170 in Sportiqo’s market.
Like Narine, Russell can also produce fireworks in both the bowling and batting department. He is one of the most dangerous power hitters in the world and has the ability to bowl in excess of 140 kph. You can purchase his PCs for ₹151.
The mystery spinner’s base price for the upcoming season is ₹113. Due to his clever variations, he is a genuine wicket-taker, and his price can rise rapidly during the league.
The Kiwi pacer is also a wicket-taking option. He can bowl in excess of 150 clicks, and his starting price is ₹109.
Kolkata Knight Riders IPL 2023 Prediction
KKR are a decent-looking side but not good enough to be in the race for the title. Their top players like Andre Russell and Sunil Narine have already played their best cricket. Kolkata’s pace bowling doesn’t look like a big threat for the opposition. So, they are likely to get eliminated in the league stage after finishing at around the 8th position.
Final Prediction: League stage elimination.