IPL 2020: 3 impact players who can help Kolkata Knight Riders lift the title
- Kolkata Knight Riders would be aiming to win their third IPL title on the back of these stars.
- A squad regular, an Englishman and a paceman from New South Wales will be expected to deliver the goods.
One among the 3 teams (the others being Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians) to have won the IPL multiple times, Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) have a strong side heading into IPL 2020. KKR signed international stars like Pat Cummins and Eoin Morgan along with England's latest boy wonder Tom Banton to bolster their squad. The presence of several match-winners makes KKR the team to look out for in this IPL.
Here's a look at 3 match-winners who can help KKR lift their third IPL title in 2020:
#1 Andre Russell
'Dre Russ' as he is popularly known has been an integral part of the KKR unit since 2014. The Jamaican all-rounder is one of the hardest hitters of the cricket ball, a hostile fast bowler and an electric fielder (attributes which make him the first pick in any T20 team). An outright match-winner who can change the course of a game in the matter of a few balls, Russell is considered T20 cricket's crown prince (the king, of course, being Chris Gayle).
He has the highest career strike rate in IPL history, a mind-boggling 186.41. Last year, he took his consistency to a whole other level - smashing 510 runs in 14 innings at an average of 56.66 and a whopping strike rate of 204.81.
Also see – RCB 2020 team
Opposition bowlers were left clueless as Russell won matches for KKR single-handedly from improbable positions. Heading into IPL 2020, he will be the trump card for Kolkata and fans will be looking forward to see more of Russell's heroics with the bat.
#2 Pat Cummins
Bought for a whopping sum of INR 15.5 crores in the IPL auction, KKR will be hoping for Cummins to solve their death bowling woes. The number 1 ranked Test bowler in the world has a phenomenal record in all three formats of the game. His IPL stint has however seen him play only 16 matches across 3 seasons due to injury-related issues. However, throughout the last 3 seasons playing for Australia, Cummins has displayed impeccable levels of consistency.
The New South Wales paceman couldn't capitalise on his sensational Test debut in 2011 owing to a fragile body. He worked hard on his fitness levels and since 2016-17 there has been no looking back for him. The 26-year-old returned a fitter version of himself and has since then been taking truckloads of wickets across formats for Australia. KKR would be expecting Cummins to spearhead their attack and have a major impact in this IPL.
#3 Tom Banton
Tom Banton has been hitting the headlines since last season. A dynamic top-order batsman, Banton, playing for Somerset scored 454 runs in their victorious 50-over campaign in county cricket. The 21-year-old followed it up with 549 runs in the Vitality T20 Blast at an average of 40.58 and a strike rate of 161.8. What caught everyone's eye was his ability to pull off reverse sweeps and scoops off fast bowlers with relative ease (it came naturally to Banton since he played hockey till he was 17).
His 360° game has seen him getting compared to Jos Buttler and AB de Villiers. The good thing with Banton is that he can improvise effortlessly and can manipulate the field with unconventional strokes.
With so much hype around Banton, Brisbane Heat signed him for Big Bash League 09. He enthralled audiences Down Under with 223 runs off 7 innings at an average of 32 and a strike rate of 177. Looking at Banton's performances there's a feeling that KKR might have pulled off the coup of the IPL auctions.
#Note: Foreign players have been selected subject to their availability for IPL 2020Published 24 Mar 2020, 16:13 IST