Kolkata Knight Riders will begin IPL 2022 on March 26th against Chennai Super Kings at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. The team has had a few changes since the last XI that played in the finals of IPL 2021. Players such as Pat Cummins will not be available for the first few encounters. On that note, in this article, we predict the strongest possible Kolkata Knight Riders playing XI for the opening game against CSK.
Openers: Venkatesh Iyer and Ajinkya Rahane
Since Aaron Finch is not available for the first few games, Ajinkya Rahane is the likely option to open the batting. Of course, there is the option of Sunil Narine but KKR can get the maximum out of Rahane only at the top of the order. Although Venkatesh Iyer is certain to start as an opener, there are doubts if KKR could use him how Team India is using the player in the middle-order. If that happens, KKR can have Narine and Rahane as the openers.
Middle-Order: Shreyas Iyer (C), Nitish Rana, and Sam Billings (WK)
At No.3 will be KKR’s most important player – Shreyas Iyer. The player has been in fine form in recent months and he will want to do the best and win games for his franchise. Having spent a lot of money on him, Nitish Rana will be under pressure to deliver. While he will be employed as a spin-basher, if the opposition brings pace against him, it is important that Rana reacts well. Sam Billings is likely to get a run of games this IPL and if he can do well, his popularity would increase in the IPL.
All-Rounders: Andre Russell and Sunil Narine
Andre Russell will yet again don the finishing duties for the franchise. However, unlike the previous seasons, this time around, he is the only experienced man in this department. Narine as a batter is useful but it depends on how the management makes use of him. With the ball, though, he will lead the spin attack for KKR.
Bowlers: Tim Southee, Shivam Mavi, Umesh Yadav and Varun CV
With Pat Cummins unavailable, Tim Southee will be the overseas pacer. He will be supported by Shivam Mavi and Umesh Yadav in this department. Mavi and Umesh will open the bowling for the franchise. Varun CV will want to do well so that he can get back to Team India. His form could define the prospects for KKR in IPL 2022.