IPL 2021, Qualifier 2: Strongest XI for KKR against DC

IPL 2021, Qualifier 2: Strongest Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) Predicted Playing XI against Delhi Capitals (DC)

KKR have won six out of their eight games in the UAE leg so far, which is better than anyone else in the competition at this moment.

Kolkata Knight Riders
Kolkata Knight Riders. (Photo Source: Twitter/IPL)

Kolkata Knight Riders have been quite remarkable ever since starting the second leg of the Indian Premier League 2021. After defeating Royal Challengers Bangalore in the eliminator, KKR has a total of six wins in eight games in the UAE leg which makes them one of the favorites to go on and win the tournament. 

But, they need to first defeat Delhi Capitals, who are hurting after their defeat against Chennai Super Kings in the first qualifiers. These two teams will now meet each other in Sharjah on October 13.

Here is the strongest XI which Kolkata Knight Riders can put out against Delhi Capitals:  

1. Openers (Venkatesh Iyer and Shubman Gill)

Venkatesh Iyer
Venkatesh Iyer. (Photo Source: IPL/BCCI)

In the last few matches, Shubman Gill has shown signs of a return to form, and most importantly, there has been a consistent run for him. He showed two fifties coming into the playoffs and ended as a top scorer in the eliminator with his 18-ball 29. His knock was crucial in the sense that it cut down the runs to balls ratio in a run chase that wasn’t too tall, to begin with. 

Iyer, on the other hand, stayed longer than Gill but ended up scoring only 26 runs from 30 balls. That knock might seem of a lot of value but it certainly was given the conditions and match situation. He has the ability to deliver as the sixth bowler as well, but the skipper has not felt the need in the last few games. 

2. Middle-order (Rahul Tripathi, Nitish Rana, Eoin Morgan, and Dinesh Karthik)

Sunil Narine and Nitish Rana
Sunil Narine and Nitish Rana. (Photo Source: IPL/BCCI)

A couple of handy cameos came for KKR from the middle order in the last few games. Against RCB in the eliminator, Tripathi failed to get going but Rana was calm during his 25-ball 23. Though some may say that he gave away his wicket at a very wrong time, the damage was almost done by then. 

Karthik too was not aggressive during his 12-ball 10 in the eliminator. But, his dismissal has raised questions over his shot selection given the situation the match was in. Captain Morgan would be a little happy with his two not-out knocks in the last two matches. Against RCB, he made just five runs, but he eventually sealed the deal for KKR in the tight finish.

3. All-rounders (Sunil Narine and Shakib Al Hasan)

Shakib Al Hasan
Shakib Al Hasan. (Photo by INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP/GettyImages)

Sunil Narine had the game of his life against RCB. He dismissed the big three of the opposition, Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, and Glenn Maxwell along with Srikar Bharat, who was in form coming into the eliminator. Apart from this, Narine’s three sixes off Dan Christian has been cited as the turning point in that tight run chase. 

He was promoted to no. 5 and responded with a good cameo of 26 runs from 15 balls in that small run chase. Another handy part was played by experienced all-rounder Shakib. He kept things tight with the ball giving only 24 runs from four overs. He later scored nine runs from six balls to take his side home, when things were getting a little out of hand. However, if Andre Russell is deemed fit, KKR won’t hesitate in replacing Shakib with him. 

4. Bowlers (Shivam Mavi, Varun Chakravarthy, and Lockie Ferguson)

Lockie Ferguson
Lockie Ferguson. (Photo Source: IPL/BCCI)

Since featuring regularly for KKR, Lockie Ferguson has managed to be impactful with the ball in every game. He has 12 wickets in the five matches of the UAE leg and was once again in action against RCB. The Blackcaps bowler first broke the opening stand and then took another at the death. He has been as important as Varun Chakravarthy for KKR and as consistent as it gets. 

Chakravarthy bowled an economical spell against Bangalore, shelling only 20 runs in his four overs. Along with Shakib and Narine, he has formed an amazing spin trio, which has been key to this side’s success. Mavi had a bit of an off day against RCB but is expected to make the XI on the back of some good show with the ball in preceding games.