KKR will have to change their bowling strategy from spin to speed as they move from Chepauk to Wankhede.
Kolkata Knight Riders is coming to Mumbai after a loss against Royal Challengers Bangalore. After a good start in their Chennai stage, their batting performances dipped and the result began to escape. Their assumed strength, bowling, was not at its best in the previous match and players need to set up as they enter a new venue for a couple of games.
Eoin Morgan’s team will now face Chennai Super Kings, who have had a good run at Wankhede Stadium so far. The two teams will meet in Mumbai on Wednesday night.
Here are the projected XI of the Kolkata Knight Riders for their match against Chennai Super Kings:
Openers (Shubman Gill and Nitish Rana)
Kolkata Knight Riders have had decent starts from their openers so far in the tournament. However, Shubman Gill would be disappointed without converting his starts into a big score on three occasions. He has made 15, 33, and 21 in three games so far and would be desperate to get a big score under his belt.
On the other hand, Nitish Rana could not continue his good run with the bat in IPL 2021. However, returning to the Wankhede would be good news for him as the de-dirt enjoys batting at conditions that suit him. KKR will probably continue their consolidation. However, news is floating around that Sunil Narine may be coming back. This keeps it as a backup opening option if they want to try a percussionist at the top.
Middle order (Rahul Tripathi, Eoin Morgan, Dinesh Karthik)
The problem with KKR’s batting against Bangalore was the lack of substantial pubs. Everyone got a start but failed to convert it into an inning like AB de Villiers’ or Glenn Maxwell’s earlier that day. Tripathi has shown his ability to strike boundaries and be busy on the crease. Will enjoy batting on Wankhede’s face.
Speaking of good batting conditions, it will be a relief to Eoin Morgan and Dinesh Karthik that KKR move their base for the next two games at the Wankhede. Both have struggled with their form lately and lack runners. Both batters will be looking to get a good knock under their belt in these next two games to feel good about their batting with a long season ahead.
All rounds (Sunil Narine and Andre Russell)
When Shakib Al Hasan was slotted back into the KKR team, taking over Sunil Narine, it seemed like a good inclusion, considering his batting potential. However, it took three games for KKR to understand that there were top Bangladeshi batting performances when it came up the routine, which does not seem to be something KKR is interested in doing at the moment.
Shakib is an anchor and Brendon McCullum’s management certainly doesn’t want another player like that in the top order. This brings us to Sunil Narine, whose experience with the ball could be crucial at the Wankhede. Sending it to open on a mat-friendly surface like a pinch hitter might be a welcome change for KKR. It should be noted though that Narine has problems with the swing ball, which the CSK bowling unit can do early.
Bowlers (Prasidh Krishna, Pat Cummins, Shivam Mavi, Varun Chakravarthy)
Since KKR moved its base from Chennai to Mumbai, the responsibility of bowling will now rest on the faster bowlers. Pat Cummins should be seen opening the bowling with Prasidh Krishna. Harbhajan Singh is likely to miss this game, considering his primary use in the first three games has been to get the opening left-footed batsman in opposition, which he did not once. On Wankhede, Shivam Mavi should be a better choice than the veteran spinner.
Mavi is a good enough death bowler as well, which will relieve some pressure from Andre Russell who was pushed in his two overs at the time of the death in the previous fight. This will also add to Russell’s responsibility for looking after the middle order. Varun Chakravarthy will partner Sunil Narine in KKR’s spin division in this fight.