IPL 2021 Preview: Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR)
Kolkata Knight Riders are one of the most followed and brand valued teams in the Indian Premier League (IPL). A late bloomer in the championship in terms of success, the Kolkata outfit has won the IPL title in 2012 and 2014.
They were fifth in last year’s edition of the tournament, narrowly missing out on a Playoff spot, but with the likes of Sunil Narine, Andre Russell, Shubham Gill and Pat Cummins in their side, Kolkata are always a team to be respected.
Having such big-name players, Kolkata will also generate a lot of interest in the IPL betting market.
The team made plenty of Playoff appearances over the years, but it is yet to taste success since former India player Gautam Gambhir left the side.
However, there is no dearth of talent in the team, and Kolkata can emerge as a stronger option in the betting market.
How did KKR do in IPL 2020?
2020 was a poor season for KKR, who finished in fifth place and narrowly missed out on a Playoff spot. In the end, they finished on 14 points (seven wins, seven losses), with an inferior net run-rate to RCB and SRH costing them because those two sides ended on the same points as them.
It was an inconsistent season where they never managed to win more than two matches in a row and they particularly struggled in the second half of the season.
Their cause wasn’t helped by Sunil Narine missing games after his bowling action was questioned while star man Andre Russell, as has so often been the case in the last few years, missed games through injury. They were each unavailable for four games.
They also had issues with the captaincy. Dinesh Karthik stepped down as captain and was replaced by Eoin Morgan, but results didn’t really improve under the England T20 skipper.
KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS BETTING: HOW TO BET ON IPL 2021?
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IPL is a great tournament to place bets on. Kolkata Knight Riders are among the most successful franchises in the event’s history, and fans and bettors alike have been treated to some good times over the years. Online cricket betting goes up a notch owing to the nature of IPL, the format and the players involved. Betting on IPL cricket is easy as 1-2-3:
Step 1: Choose a betting site from the list above and open an account; bonuses are available
Step 2: Pick your deposit option and load funds in INR; many bookmakers accept credit/debit cards, bank transfers and e-wallets
Step 3: Learn about betting odds and go ahead with placing your bet!
WHAT ARE THE ODDS FOR KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS TO WIN IPL 2021?
KKR have odds of 15.00 with Betway, Bet365, and 10Cric to win what would be their third IPL title. That makes them the fifth favourites to go all the way and somewhat similar odds to what they were at the start of the 2020 season.
Some feel these are generous odds about a team who can boast two or three real game-changers like Russell, Narine and Kuldeep Yadav. But others may feel they’re not the side of a few years ago and that they may be lacking in a couple of key areas.
Nitish Rana leads Kolkata Knight Riders betting odds for Top Batsman
|Player||Odds on Betway|
|Shakib Al Hasan||21.00|
Recommended Tip: You can stake big on Shubhman Gill to be KKR’s top batsman. He looks the most promising of the lot. It will either be Rana or Gill.
S Gill has odds of 3.00 on Betway and this one should be a no-brainer. He is in the form of his life and opens the batting for KKR.
Don’t wait, place a bet right away on Betway.
Spinner Varun Chakravarthy leads Kolkata Knight Riders betting odds for Top Bowler
|Player||Odds on Betway|
|Shakib Al Hasan||21.00|
Recommended Tip: You can skip this bet if you go by our suggestion since there are lots of quality bowlers in there and no one’s clearly ahead. However, if you really want to place a bet on it, you can place a bet on Varun Chakravarthy who has odds of 3.00 and leads the table.
Place a bet right away on Betway.
KKR BETTING: What can we expect from the KKR in IPL 2021?
That’s not such an easy question to answer. This is a side who can be brilliant on their day when their big guns fire but awful on another day when a couple of key players are unavailable, or when they get their tactics wrong.
As an example, last year they suffered the humiliation of scoring just 84/8 when batting first against RCB. That was by far the lowest score of any team batting first in last year’s IPL.
The addition of seasoned veteran Harbhajan Singh should help matters, as will a couple of other new faces. And Morgan is a better captain than Karthik, so it was a good decision for Morgan to keep the job for this year.
They should make the Playoffs but that might just be as good as it gets.
WHO ARE THE BEST KKR PLAYERS TO BET ON?
Russell is an obvious place to start. He may not be quite the player he was a few seasons ago with injuries and age catching up with him.
But they don’t call him ‘Superman’ for nothing. But before backing Russell for KKR top batsman in matches, remember that he sometimes only bats at six or seven, so may not face that many balls, however quickly he scores. A better bet might be to go with him to be man-of-the-match because of the impact he has on games.
A superior bet for KKR top runscorer is the incredibly consistent Shubman Gill. The opener was their overall top runscorer last season and his steady and sure approach to batting, playing classical shots rather than smashing sixes, means he always seems to get runs.
With the ball, Varun Chakravarthy took 17 wickets last season and may do even better this term. The big advantage with him is that in Kolkata Knight Riders betting, he’s often available at much bigger odds than some of the more famous KKR bowlers.
HIGHEST PAID PLAYERS IN KKR
Pat Cummins became the costliest overseas player ever in IPL as Kolkata signed him for the mind-boggling amount of $2.3million (15.5 Crore). The man often considered the world’s best Test Match pace bowler was listed for a base price of just $0.28million.
Sunil Narine comes in second place, being paid $1.2million, while Dinesh Karthik is taking home $1 million. Andre Russell earns $0.98 million, while Kuldeep Yadav will get richer by $0.81 million in the 2021 season.
Skipper Morgan earns $0.736 million.
KKR will be relying on this star power to come up trumps and make a strong proposition in the IPL betting markets.
KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS: HISTORY
The Knight Riders have been in the IPL since the competition began in 2008. They have won it twice – in 2012 and 2014. They are therefore one of the first teams to look for in the IPL betting markets.
Kolkata Knight Riders have been one of the most popular IPL outfits because of its star owners and players. Playing since the beginning of IPL in 2008, they had ex-India skipper Sourav Ganguly as their icon player and captain. The team had the likes of Chris Gayle, Ricky Ponting, Brandon McCullum and Ishant Sharma. Despite having vociferous support at the Eden Gardens, India’s biggest cricket stadium, the team couldn’t make an impression in the first three seasons of the tournament. It finished sixth in 2008, while it was eight and sixth in 2009 and 2010 respectively.
IPL trophy wins under Gautam Gambhir
The change came in 2011 when star India batsman Gautam Gambhir took over the reins from Sourav Ganguly. The team made play-off for the first time and finished fourth. Their wait to maiden title ended in 2012 when they beat hosts Chennai Super Kings in the final. The team failed to repeat its performance in 2013, but 2014 saw Kolkata rising in the charts again. Playing under Gambhir’s captaincy, they reached final where they meet Kings XI Punjab. In a high-scoring encounter, Kolkata won the title clash by three wickets.
Kolkata missed out on play-off spot in 2015, but with three consecutive playoff appearances, they proved they were a force to reckon with. Gambhir’s long stint with the team ended in 2018 when he bid adieu to become a politician. Dinesh Karthik took over as captain the same year. Playing under him for the first time, the team finished fifth last season. The team has bolstered its pace department. They are expected to come up with flying colours this season.
Here is a summary of Kolkata Knight Riders’ results since the Indian Premier League began in 2008.
NOTABLE PLAYER MOVEMENT
After a 2020 season where they failed to make an impact, KKR released English pair Tom Banton (opening batsman) and Harry Gurney (fast bowler). They also said goodbye to Australian spinning all-rounder Chris Green, who failed to make the same impact in the IPL as he had in the Big Bash.
They brought in Harbhajan Singh, the brilliant former India off-spinner who had been at Mumbai and Chennai in the past. His experience will be invaluable.
They also bought wicket-keeper batsman Sheldon Jackson and experienced middle-order batter Karun Nair.
In terms of overseas players, they purchased the excellent Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al-Hasan, who had played for KKR in the past. There was also the buying of big Australian all-rounder Ben Cutting, whose accurate bowling and big-hitting gives them an extra option.
PROJECTED KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS PLAYING XI IN IPL 2021
This is going to be one of the hardest line-ups to pick out of all the IPL teams this season.
Gill at the top of the order, Nitish Rana at 3, Karthik as wicket-keeper batsman, Morgan at number 5, Narine and Russell as all-rounders, Yadav and Singh as chief spinners and Pat Cummins as their star pace bowler, are all certainties to play.
But what about the rest? The fourth overseas spot could go to any one of Shakib Al-Hasan, Lockie Ferguson, or Cutting if Russell gets injured again or Narine has issues with his bowling action again.
They’ll also have to decide whether Chakravarthy deserves a place and whether they need another all-rounder in Rahul Tripathi.
So, you can see why it’s so hard to know who will play.
KKR’s PROJECTED XI
Rotation will be key. When the 2019 IPL gets underway, however, we would like to see the following starting XI.
2. Sunil Narine
3. Nitish Rana
4. Eoin Morgan
5. Andre Russell
6. Dinesh Karthik
7. Rahul Tripathi
8. Patrick Cummins
9. Harbhajan Singh
10. Prasidh Krishna/Kuldeep Yadav
11. Shivam Mavi
KKR: TEAM STRENGTHS
To have one world-class all-rounder in your side is pretty fortunate. But to have two in Russell and Narine is very fortunate indeed. And if you consider Cummins a decent batsman, which he arguably is, that’s three. That of course gives skipper Morgan a lot of options not just in terms of bowling but how he wants to set up his batting order.
They also have plenty of options in the spin department. Narine, Singh, Yadav, Chakravarthy and Al-Hasan are all high-class players who bowl different varieties of spin.
KKR: TEAM WEAKNESS
They don’t look great in the pace bowling department. There’s Cummins and Russell (when) fit but then what?
They may be forced to play Lockie Ferguson, but which overseas player are they going to sacrifice for him to come in?
WHO ARE THE OWNERS OF KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS?
The team is owned by Shahrukh Khan’s Red Chillies Entertainment and actress Juhi Chawla and her spouse Jay Mehta. It was their star power that kept Kolkata at the top of popularity charts for many years in the beginning of the league. Popularity of the team has gone down for some years, this is partly due to the performance of the team and partly Shahrukh Khan’s movies poor performance on the box office of late.
However, all the owners are highly supportive of the team. They are seen cheering up team during the matches. It’s the main reason that keeps the team’s morale high. The same zeal can make Kolkata as a popular team in gambling market this year.