IPL 2020: Match 5, KKR vs MI- KKR Predicted Playing XI

IPL 2020: Match 5, KKR vs MI- KKR Predicted Playing XI

Shall the Knight Riders continue with Sunil Narine as their opener?

Andre Russell
Andre Russell. (Photo: IANS)

Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) are set to be the last team to make its entry into the 2020 Indian Premier League (IPL). Dinesh Karthik and Co would be facing Rohit Sharma’s Mumbai Indians (MI) in their first match on Wednesday, September 23 at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.

Overall numbers suggest that the Mumbai-based franchise are the firm favourites to emerge victorious. However, KKR would fancy their chances courtesy MI’s dismal record in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Also, when the two teams met in Abu Dhabi the only time in 2014, the Knights won by 41 runs. Last year, both teams won a game each, but it was Mumbai, who made their way through to the playoffs and not the Knights. The upcoming match is expected to be an absolute cracker.

Here is the Predicted Playing XI for the Kolkata Knight Riders for KKR vs MI: –

Openers (Sunil Narine, Shubman Gill)

Shubman Gill
Shubman Gill. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Sunil Narine and Shubman Gill are most likely to open the batting. Even as Narine is someone, who prefers to go hammer and tongs from the word go, Gill is matured enough to shift gears as per the situation of matches. The duo can complement each other, adding to the headaches of oppositions.

Narine is in decent form, scoring a few half-centuries for the Trinbago Knight Riders in the 2020 CPL. At the top if he gets going, opponents will be left, scratching their heads in despair. He is in awe-inspiring form with the ball in hand as well.

KKR would be hoping for Narine to fire on all cylinders. Gill, on the other hand, started his IPL career as a lower-order batter. But the Knights struck gold when he was promoted up the order. Last year, he gave a glimpse of his prowess as an opening batter.

Middle-order (Nitish Rana, Eoin Morgan, Dinesh Karthik (C & WK), Rinku Singh)

Dinesh Karthik IPL
Dinesh Karthik. (Photo: Kuntal Chakrabarty/IANS)

KKR’s middle-order has been strengthened with Eoin Morgan’s inclusion after the England limited-overs captain was roped in for INR 5.25 crore in the first-half of the auction. The southpaw was a Knight Rider earlier and he would be aware of the dynamics of the franchise.

The Knights’ middle-order looked a tad fragile last year and the left-handed Morgan is expected to lend it solidity. Nitish Rana has played a crucial role for them after he moved from the MI franchise in 2018.

Dinesh Karthik was excellent with the bat in 2018, but he was a tad inconsistent last time, though he got a score in the 90s against the Rajasthan Royals (RR). Rinku Singh hasn’t played a whole lot of games for the Knights since 2018 and he would wish to grab with both hands whatever chances he gets.

All-rounders (Andre Russell)

Andre Russell
Andre Russell. (Photo: IANS)

Andre Russell needs no introduction. Does he? When he’s in flow, he can demolish bowling attacks of the highest quality. The Jamaican can win his team matches, single-handedly, though it would be unfair to expect him to do so every time. If he finds the middle of the bat, there’s no running away for the opposition.

Dre-Russ is someone, who can press the accelerator right from the outset. In 2019, he butchered 52 sixes and muscled his way with a strike-rate in excess of 200. Though KKR failed to qualify for the playoffs, Russell ran away with the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award.

Amidst his six-hitting spree, it’s pertinent to note that he was the leading wicket-taker for his team. If Dre-Russ starts wreaking havoc, opponents can do nothing, but duck for cover, asking for mercy.

Bowlers (Shivam Mavi, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Pat Cummins, Kuldeep Yadav)

Pat Cummins
Pat Cummins. (Photo Source: Instagram)

The Knight Riders’ bowling attack is blended with youth and experience. The Men in Gold and Purple shelled out a stunning INR 15.5 crore, making him the most expensive foreign buy in the history of the T20 league. Like Morgan, even the Australian paceman has returned as a Knight.

If he plays, it invariably means that USA’s Ali Khan and New Zealand’s Lockie Ferguson will have to warm the bench for the time being. Cummins may have Shivam Mavi and Kamlesh Nagarkoti as his fast-bowling partners.

Mavi and Nagarkoti have had injury concerns in the last two years and they would be eager to make a mark. In the spin-department, along with Narine, Kuldeep Yadav is also there. The latter didn’t have a great outing last time and he would be desperate to make amends. Rana can also roll his arms over.