IPL 2021: 3 areas of concern for KKR ahead of DC clash

Shubman Gill
Shubman Gill
Sai Krishna

The Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) are one of the most storied franchises in Indian Premier League (IPL) history, but they aren't doing their reputation many favors with their performances this year.

With two wins in six games and a net run rate of -0.305, Eoin Morgan's men find themselves in an early slump - one they'll have to work very hard to get out of. The top three teams in IPL 2021 - the Chennai Super Kings, the Royal Challengers Bangalore and the Delhi Capitals - have been a cut above the rest, while the Mumbai Indians won't be consigned to the middle of the points table for very long.

KKR take on one such fancied team in DC on April 29. They desperately need a win, and here are 3 areas they need to address ahead of the encounter.

#3 KKR will be concerned with the form of Shubman Gill

Shubman Gill
Shubman Gill

KKR's rock at the top of the order has been nowhere near his consistent best in IPL 2021. With only 89 runs at an average of 14.83 and a strike rate of 120.27, Shubman Gill has cut a sorry figure as an opener.

Certain experts have claimed that Gill might be better suited to the middle order, but KKR are likely to put their faith in the youngster for a couple more games at least. He needs to iron out the flaws in his technique and approach, and play himself back into form at the earliest.

Gill's shot selection and game awareness have left a lot to be desired this year, and he's not only harming KKR's chances in IPL 2021 but also damaging his own future with the Indian cricket team. The IPL has had a massive impact on national selection over the last few years, and the 21-year-old will eye a remarkable turnaround to dispel any doubts regarding the same.

#2 KKR's pace department lacks a consistent wicket-taker

Pat Cummins
Pat Cummins

Pat Cummins, retained for all of his INR 15.5 crore IPL 2020 contract, has picked up 6 wickets in 6 games at an economy rate of over 9. KKR's talisman in the pace department has been distinctly sub-par in his primary role in the team, and his poor form has cascaded onto the other pacers in the team.

Prasidh Krishna is slowly finding his footing after a sluggish start to IPL 2021. Although he has a decent haul of 8 wickets, he has leaked runs at an economy rate of 9 and took three of these scalps in a single game. Kamlesh Nagarkoti, meanwhile, played only one game before being relegated to the bench.

Shivam Mavi, who has played two games so far, has been undeniably accurate and economical in the powerplay. But he too has only two wickets to show for.

KKR's pacers being unable to provide regular breakthroughs has put a lot of pressure on the spinners - Varun Chakravarthy and Sunil Narine - apart from death bowler Andre Russell.

#1 KKR don't have a settled batting lineup

Sunil Narine
Sunil Narine

With Sunil Narine and Andre Russell being used as floaters according to the demands of the situation, KKR's batting lineup doesn't wear a settled look.

Nitish Rana and Shubman Gill have been pedestrian in most games, leaving Rahul Tripathi - who has been a breath of fresh air No. 3 - with the unenviable task of not only resurrecting the innings but also injecting momentum into it. Eoin Morgan's form has been sketchy too, although he took his team over the line in the previous game.

Russell and Narine haven't made sizeable contributions, apart from the former's blitz against the Chennai Super Kings. In fact, KKR have had to turn to the batting ability of Pat Cummins on more than one occasion this year.

Morgan, Brendon McCullum and the rest of the analysts who are part of the KKR support staff need to find a way to get the best out of their batsmen. The XI clearly doesn't lack quality, but the performances aren't quite there yet and where each batsman plays might be the deciding factor.

Morgan could be restored to his favorite No. 4 position, with Russell and Dinesh Karthik following him. Narine could be demoted due to his glaring weakness against pace, while even one of the openers could be moved down the order.

Edited by Atharva Papnoi
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