3 reasons why Sunil Narine should open for KKR in IPL 2023
Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) will kickstart their Indian Premier League (IPL) campaign when they lock horns with the Punjab Kings (PBKS) in Match 2 of the tournament. The much-awaited fixture will be played at the IS Bindra Stadium in Mohali on Saturday, April 1.
KKR were dealt with a huge blow as their star player and captain Shreyas Iyer was ruled out of the majority of the competition with a back injury. On Monday (March 27), the management announced that Nitish Rana will lead the team.
In Iyer's absence, other experienced players, including Sunil Narine, Andre Russell and Umesh Yadav will have to raise their hands and dish out consistent performances.
As far as Narine's bowling is concerned, it has grown like a fine wine. Even after playing over 400 T20s, the mystery spinner has a terrific economy of less than six runs per over.
Narine's value soars up when KKR uses his batting prowess as well. He has excelled with the bat whenever promoted up the order and they might look to do the same in the 2023 season as well.
On that note, let's take a look at three reasons why Sunil Narine should open the batting for KKR in IPL 2023.
#1 Has been extremely impactful as an opener
It would be accurate to argue that Narine has only had a significant effect as a batter when he has opened for KKR in the IPL. In fact, the left-hander has aggregated 729 of his 1025 IPL runs while batting as an opener.
In 39 innings as an opener, Narine has hit three half-centuries at a commendable strike rate of 175.66 so far. Whereas at No. 7 or lower, he strikes only at a rate of around 124. This clearly indicates that Narine might have a huge role to play if slotted in as an opener by KKR.
#2 Can form a deadly pair with Gurbaz or Litton Das
Remember when Narine partnered up with Chris Lynn and the pair dominated the oppositions during 2017 and 2018?
Well, KKR could opt for a similar strategy this time around as well. The franchise has two explosive wicket-keeper batters in Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Litton Das, out of which one is certainly going to feature in the starting XI.
KKR could partner any one of Gurbaz and Litton with Narine and the pair could well unleash themselves and form a deadly opening combination. Both Gurbaz and Litton like to dominate the opposition bowlers, a trait which comes naturally to Narine as well.
#3 More stability needed in the middle-order
With no Shreyas Iyer for the majority of the tournament, KKR's prime aim should be to solidify the middle-order.
While they can slot in either Mandeep Singh or Narayan Jagadeesan right at No. 3, another option could be to use Venkatesh Iyer in the middle-order.
Moving Narine to the top with Venkatesh batting at No. 3 would not only help in stabilizing the batting core but will also stretch the batting order a bit more.
Get IPL 2023 Live Score along with Points Table & Schedule Updates at Sportskeeda.