With two loss and two wins, Kolkata Knight Riders are currently placed at the fourth spot in the IPL points table. However, there are many problems which the KKR camp needs to work upon, if they wish to be serious contenders for the titles. The biggest headache for coach Brendon McCullum is Sunil Narine and Dinesh Karthik’s misfiring with the bat. As KKR gears up to face the resurgent Chennai Super Kings, the big question is “Can KKR afford two out-of-form batsmen at this stage of the tournament?”
KKR vs CSK: Sunil Narine’s Impact so far
Sunil Narine has looked woefully out of form, managing only 27-runs from four matches at a strike rate of 87.09. With him Narine struggling, KKR has put a lot of its hopes on Eoin Morgan, Shubman Gill, Andre Russell, Nitish Rana and Dinesh Karthik. This is where things have fallen apart for them. While Gill, Morgan and Rana look in great form, Karthik has not made any impact this season. Due to this, KKR’s batting department has looked fragile.
However, benching captain Karthik is not a possibility for now and KKR would wait for another match before taking a decision. This leaves KKR with Narine.
KKR vs CSK: Will Sunil Narine be benched for CSK match?
It is extremely unlikely that he will be benched against CSK. KKR mentor David Hussey believes that it would be stupid not to continue with him as an opener.
“Narine is one of the world’s best T20 bowlers or white ball bowlers throughout the world. But he has done it so well, opening the batting for KKR. It would be stupid not to continue with is as well,” he said, reported Times of India
However, if Narine’s bad run continues, KKR might have to look for a replacement in the big-hitting English youngster, Tom Banton.
A dynamic wicket-keeper batsman who burst into the England domestic scene in 2017, Tom Banton is a rising star for Somerset. Extremely unorthodox with the willow and lightning-quick behind the sticks, he’s already been touted as a potential successor to Jos Buttler.
Nonetheless, for now they look to be happy with their playing XI and will possibly look for changes should they lose the match against CSK.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Dinesh Karthik (C), Andre Russell, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Kuldeep Yadav, Lockie Ferguson, Nitish Rana, Prasidh Krishna, Rinku Singh, Sandeep Warrier, Shivam Mavi, Shubman Gill, Siddhesh Lad, Sunil Narine, Pat Cummins, Eoin Morgan, Varun Chakravarthy, Tom Banton, Rahul Tripathi, Chris Green, M Siddharth, Nikhil Naik, Ali Khan.
Chennai Super Kings: MS Dhoni (C), M Vijay, Ambati Rayudu, Faf du Plessis, Shane Watson, Kedar Jadhav, Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, Lungi Ngidi, Deepak Chahar, Piyush Chawla, Imran Tahir, Mitchell Santner, Josh Hazlewood, Shardul Thakur, Sam Curran, N Jagadeesan, KM Asif, Monu Kumar, R Sai Kishore, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Karn Sharma.