Kolkata Knight Riders will finally start their campaign in the Indian Premier League 2020 with their opening match against Mumbai Indians in the Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi. Although, historically Mumbai Indians have the upper hands here this one expects to be a close one, especially after MI losing their first match of IPL 2020.
Pollard vs Narine
Both Kieron Pollard and Sunil Narine are coming from the successful Caribbean Premier League where Narine played under Pollard’s captaincy for Trinbago Knight Riders who lifted the trophy for the fourth time. Both Pollard and Narine performed pretty well in the CPL with Pollard regularly batting at number four and providing key runs for his team. Narine, on the other hand, played an all-round role with his clever bowling and power-hitting at top of the order. In the first MI match, Pollard came to bat at number six, in case they pushed him to hire, Narine will be one key bowler from KKR to contain him.
Both Hardik and Krunal Pandya had a mediocre opening match against CSK. Hardik scored only 14 runs and did not bowl whereas Krunal scored just three and conceded on an average above nine runs per over. In the last match between these two teams, Hardik was the man-of-the-match because of his bowling and that is a key weapon for the balance of Mumbai Indians. It will be interesting to see if Hardik bowls few overs against KKR or he still is not fit to bowl post his surgery.
Andre Russell is famous for changing the shape of the match at any point in time. In the last IPL, he was the lone performer for KKR and took them to victory single-handedly in multiple matches. He was the man-of-the-match in KKR’s win over MI in 2019 with two wickets and a blistering 40-ball 80. Russell was in decent form during the CPL also but IPL is a different ball game. So, whether he can continue to play his match-turning innings will be a factor for KKR.
Young players like Prithvi Shaw, Shubman Gill, and Kamlesh Nagarkoti were signed by the IPL teams after winning 2018 Under 19 World Cup. Currently, some of them are key players in their respective teams; especially Shubman Gill is now considered the best Indian batsman for KKR. Last season saw a significant upward curve in his performance when he was moved from lower order to top orde. He is expected to open or bat at number three and give an explosive start with Sunil Narine before Russell takes charge in the middle order.