Andre Russell to get promotion, Afghanistan's Gurbaaz as keeper: Here's KKR's likely XI vs PBKS in IPL 2023

Apr 01, 2023 11:32 AM IST

This could be Kolkata Knight Riders' Predicted XI in their IPL 2023 against Punjab Kings in Mohali.

Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) will be led by Nitish Rana in the absence of their regular captain Shreyas Iyer who is out with a back injury when they take on Shikhar Dhawan’s Punjab Kings (PBKS) in the second match of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 on Saturday at the Punjab Cricket Association IS Bindra Stadium in Mohali. First-time captain, Rana will hope his side can start their campaign on a strong note with a win against Punjab. (PBKS vs KKR Live Score IPL 2023)

Andre Russell of Kolkata Knight Riders plays a shot(PTI)
Andre Russell of Kolkata Knight Riders plays a shot(PTI)

After finishing seventh on the points table in IPL 2022, two-time champions KKR have made some good acquisitions ahead of the new season. They have recruited Shardul Thakur, Lockie Ferguson and Rahmanullah Gurbaz through the trading window while quality players like Shakib Al Hasan, David Wiese and Narayan Jagadeesan were signed at the IPL auction. The KKR hierarchy will also hope that Chandrakant Pandit, a celebrated coach in Indian domestic cricket will help guide the team back to its former glories.

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KKR’s strength lies in the number of quality all-rounders it has in the squad. Andre Russel, Sunil Narine, Shardul Thakur, Shakib Al Hasan, David Wiese and Venkatesh Iyer can all win the game on a given day through their performances with either bat or ball.

But their batting is significantly weakened, as skipper Shreyas Iyer has been all but ruled out of the tournament. Even though they have quality players like Nitish Rana, Rinku Singh and Mandeep Singh, KKR lacks a solid middle-order batsman that can perform consistently throughout the season. At least, on paper, they lack someone that can score more than 400 runs in the season.

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As always, KKR will need their West Indian duo to be on top form to have any chance of reaching the playoffs. Russell has a strike rate of 177 in the cash-rich league while Narine has a strike rate of 162. The duo has helped KKR win multiple matches with the bat in the past and the franchise will expect the duo to do the same this season as well. Having played more than four hundred T20 matches across the globe, spin wizard Sunil Narine has an economy rate of less than six going into IPL 2023. Last season, even though he didn’t pick up a lot of wickets, he was fantastic with the ball, he will once again be a force to be reckoned with this season.

Death bowling could be a problem again for KKR, especially if Lockie Ferguson does not play the first game because of injury, as both Thakur and Russell have a tendency to leak runs in the final few overs.

KKR predicted XI vs PBKS

Openers: Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Mandeep Singh

Middle Order: Nitish Rana (c), Rinku Singh

All-Rounders: Andre Russel, Sunil Narine, Shardul Thakur, Venkatesh Iyer

Bowlers: Tim Southee, Umesh Yadav, Varun Chakravarthy

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