19 Mar 19
West Indian Andre Russell is one of the stars of the Kolkata Knight Riders team (Picture: Getty)
For KKR, winning the 2019 Indian Premier League would not only bring immediate joy to the city of Kolkata, but would also see them become the joint-most successful franchise in the history of the tournament.
Only Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians have won the IPL more times than two-time champions KKR, who lasted lifted the trophy in 2014 under the captaincy of former India star Gautam Gambhir.
Finishing third for the past two years, Kolkata have established themselves as one of the most consistent teams in the IPL, but they will be desperate to avenge their recent play-off disappointment to add a third title to their collection this season.
And, with a host of star names bolstering a squad led by the South African legend Jacques Kallis, many view KKR as genuine contenders ahead of the 11th edition of the IPL.
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Owner: Knight Riders Sports Private Ltd
Venue: Eden Gardens
Coach: Jacques Kallis
Captain: Dinesh Karthik
Full squad: Dinesh Karthik (c), Robin Uthappa, Chris Lynn, Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Shubman Gill, Piyush Chawla, Kuldeep Yadav, Prasidh Krishna, Nitish Rana, Rinku Singh, Carlos Brathwaite, Anrich Nortje, Lockie Ferguson, Harry Gurney, Nikhil Naik, Yarra Prithviraj, Shrikant Mundhe, Joe Denly [/metro-fact-box]
Despite the fact only two KKR players finished in the top-20 run-scorers of IPL 2018, the franchise boast a formidable batting line-up, with Indian stars Dinesh Karthik, Robin Uthappa and Nitish Rana joined by overseas players Chris Lynn, Andre Russell, Carlos Brathwaite and Sunil Narine.
Narine, of course, has transformed from a specialist leg-spinner into a devastating all-rounder, smashing over 350 runs last year at a strike-rate of almost 200.
The West Indian will expect to play a starring role with the ball as the seventh leading wicket-taker in IPL history. Narine, along with Kuldeep Yadav, form arguably the most impressive spin duo in the tournament. This week, Shane Warne named Yadav as one of his three favourite current bowlers.
In signing England all-rounder Joe Denly and white-ball specialist Harry Gurney, KKR also enjoyed a productive IPL auction. Denly can make an impact with bat and ball while Gurney is rated as one of the most effective bowlers in the world, having helped Melbourne Renegades win the Big Bash this winter.
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2018: 3rd [/metro-fact-box]
Look who arrived in the city of joy yesterday! 💜Our SKIPPER 😍@DineshKarthik#KKRHaiTaiyaar pic.twitter.com/yOko2z6Nb2
— KolkataKnightRiders (@KKRiders) March 15, 2019
STAR PLAYER – Chris Lynn (Australia)
Chris Lynn is one of the most destructive batsmen in the world (Picture: Getty)
Despite making his IPL debut seven years ago, hard-hitting Australian star Lynn has only made 28 appearances in the competition, missing a number of editions through injury.
In his rare appearances, the 28-year-old has shown his class with a number of eye-catching innings. Lynn did not enjoy his most successful Big Bash this year but has the quality to make a huge impact at IPL 2019.
SURPRISE PACKAGE – Joe Denly (England)
Joe Denly can influence matches with bat and ball (Picture: Getty)
A decade after making his international debut, Kent all-rounder Denly is back in the England team and set to feature in his first IPL after being signed by KKR for £110,000.
A talented batsman and a more than useful leg-spinner, Denly will hope to cement a starting spot in Kolkata’s team and justify his significant price tag ahead of a summer that could see him feature in the World Cup and Ashes.
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