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KKR, KXIP, RR or RCB: Which IPL 2020 Teams will Flourish?

The IPL 2020 teams have been in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) since late August now. The teams had to serve the mandatory quarantine period of a week and now the squads have started to put the hard yards in preparation for the latest Indian Premier League (IPL) season.

Here we take a look at how Kolkata Knight Riders, Kings XI Punjab, Rajasthan Royals and Royal Challengers Bangalore are shaping up ahead of the tournament.

 

KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS (KKR)

Two-time IPL champions, the Kolkata Knight Riders are looking strong as always ahead of IPL 2020. They narrowly missed out on making it to the playoffs last season but will be looking to make amends this time around. Led by wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik, KKR has a new head coach in Brendon McCullum for this year’s IPL. Together they’ll look to get the third title to Kolkata.

First-Choice Overseas Players

Andre Russell is arguably the most complete T20 player in the world. His 2019 IPL was his career-best and a feat which will be impossible to replicate. Sunil Narine has been an IPL legend during his time with the Knight Riders. His batting has improved tremendously over the years and his use at the top of the order helps the team get off to quick-fire starts.

They broke the bank to acquire the services of Pat Cummins. The sheer money they have paid for Cummins tells us that he’ll certainly play all the matches. He gives them an option with the new ball as well as in the death overs. The fourth overseas spot is an interesting one. Given the form Eoin Morgan is in, tells us he should make it to that devastating middle-order. Morgan is hitting the ball as well as he has ever done and he can be the leader the team needs to get over the line for their third title.

They have a young and dashing opener in Tom Banton and he could push for that overseas spot over the course of the season. Lockie Ferguson can be a like-for-like replacement for Pat Cummins and Chris Green could be a replacement for Narine.

Strengths

That middle order of KKR is as devastating as it can get for any T20 team. The firepower in that line-up is dangerous and will cause headaches for the opposition bowling line-ups.

Weaknesses

The Indian fast-bowling in that squad is inexperienced and lacks the variety. They need one of their young Indian fast bowlers to support Pat Cummins and KKR need to find that from the start.

Player to watch out for

Shubman Gill has been on the radar of the Indian team for a long time now. With the kind of talent the boy possesses, it’ll be difficult to imagine him not delivering this IPL.

Probable 11: Shubman Gill, Sunil Narine, Nitish Rana, Eoin Morgan, Dinesh Karthik, Andre Russell, Rinku Singh, Pat Cummins, Kuldeep Yadav, Prasidh Krishna, Kamlesh Nagarkoti

 

KINGS XI PUNJAB (KXIP)

The particular case of Kings XI Punjab is a curious one. They have been a part of the league since the first year but have managed to reach the final only on one occasion in 2014. They have constantly changed their players and their coaching staffs over the years. They have a new captain in KL Rahul for this season and have appointed Indian legend Anil Kumble as the head coach.

First-Choice Overseas Players

Glenn Maxwell has been a hit and miss when it comes to the IPL. When it comes to his best IPL season, that came in the jersey of the Punjab team. Ironically, that was in IPL 2014 when the first five matches were played in the UAE. Maxwell averaged 60 with the bat and had a strike rate of more than 200 in those first five matches. He’ll be the first choice overseas player for this team.

The way KXIP will use Chris Gayle will be fascinating to see. The ‘Universe Boss’ has been one of the best T20 players over the years but is he still at his best? Something to check out this year. Nicholas Pooran could be an interesting choice if they were to replace Gayle in the team. Sheldon Cottrell was a big-money buy for the team in the auction and is a brilliant T20 bowler. He can swing the ball upfront with the new ball and can nail his yorkers in the death overs.

The choice for the fourth spot can be anybody’s guess. They have great options in James Neesham, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Chris Jordan and Hardus Viljoen. It seems like this will be dependent on the conditions they face on the day.

Strengths

The batting firepower in the team isn’t second to any of the IPL 2020 teams. They have the best Indian T20 player in KL Rahul and he’ll look to continue his great T20 form. They have some value players in Krishnappa Gowtham and Deepak Hooda. They could provide the stability the team needs in that lower middle order.

Weaknesses

Apart from Mohammad Shami, the team lacks quality-proven Indian bowlers and will need young domestic players to step up.

Player to watch out for

It’ll be fascinating to see how KL Rahul gets used to the captaincy life at Punjab. He can keep the wickets as well so he’ll have to adapt his game to many different situations which he’ll encounter in the future.

Probable 11: KL Rahul (c) (wk), Chris Gayle, Mayank Agarwal, Glenn Maxwell, Mandeep Singh, Sarfaraz Khan, Krishnappa Gowtham, Mohammad Shami, Chris Jordan, Sheldon Cottrell, Murugan Ashwin

 

RAJASTHAN ROYALS (RR)

The Royals have changed quite a lot from their inaugural championship-winning season under the great Shane Warne. The team has turned pink and will be hoping this change in colour can help change their fortunes as well.

First-Choice Overseas Players

Steve Smith will lead the team so he takes up the first overseas spot. Jos Butler is amongst the most lethal top-order batsman in T20 cricket currently and will don the gloves as well. If Ben Stokes joins the team, then he’ll automatically take his spot in the middle order and will contribute with the ball as well. Jofra Archer will be the pick for the fourth overseas spot and his recent performances with England will help him with his confidence coming into the IPL.

Andrew Tye, Tom Curran and Oshane Thomas are more than handy replacements for Jofra Archer. The addition of David Miller to the squad is interesting and he’ll get the nod if Ben Stokes decides to skip the tournament.

Strengths

The four overseas players in the team are brilliant and will walk into any T20 side of the world.

Weaknesses

The batting line-up is extremely top-heavy and needs a player to play the role of the finisher in that team.

Player to watch out for

Yashasvi Jaiswal grabbed all the headlines with his performances in the Under-19 World Cup for India. He seems to be the first choice opening batsman for the team and will relish batting alongside Jos Butler.

Probable 11: Jos Butler (wk), Yashasvi Jaiswal, Sanju Samson, Steven Smith (c), Ben Stokes, Riyan Parag, Shreyas Gopal, Jofra Archer, Jaidev Unadkat, Ankit Rajpoot, Mayank Markande

 

ROYAL CHALLENGERS BANGALORE (RCB)

The team with most loyal fanbase in the league, Royal Challengers Bangalore have for long been the most frustrating franchise in the IPL. They have lost three IPL finals in their history and for long have had an unbalanced squad. The feeling in this squad is different this year and the RCB fans will be hoping that this finally could be their year.

First-Choice Overseas Players

AB de Villiers has for long been a top T20 batsman. He has been a mainstay in the RCB batting line-up and will continue to feature this year as well. They have acquired the services of Australian white-ball captain Aaron Finch and he will look to take the pressure of Virat and AB’s shoulders this season.

They have backed Chris Morris to be their all-rounder in this team and will look to solve the death over woes for the team. Dale Steyn should be used sparingly and effectively, as on his day he could be a gamechanger. Adam Zampa is an interesting pick for RCB. He has contributed massively to Australia reaching the number one spot in the T20Is rankings but the only issue will be that he’ll have to play alongside another leg spinner, Yuzvendra Chahal.

They have an exciting player in Josh Phillipe but his spot in the line-up will depend on an injury or lack of form of other players. Isuru Udana and Moeen Ali are the other overseas options available to Virat Kohli and co.

Strengths

The batting looks packed as usual. They have a few of the best T20 batsmen in Aaron Finch, Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers in the team.

Weaknesses

The finisher is missing in that team. The Indian middle-order batsmen are weak and their death bowling options are more often a hit and miss.

Player to watch out for

This could be the year Navdeep Saini could show his class to the world. He has all the traits required to be a successful international bowler and this could be his IPL to conquer.

Probable 11: Aaron Finch, Devdutt Padikkal, Virat Kohli (c), AB de Villiers (wk), Shivam Dube, Chris Morris, Washington Sundar, Umesh Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Dale Steyn, Navdeep Saini

Read: MI vs CSK vs DC vs SRH – Which team will rule IPL 2020?

 

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