Blog post - 2 800x200In what has been a topsy-turvy IPL 2016, few of the pre-season favorites have lived up to expectations while quite a few upstart teams have done better than hoped so far. The Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) are an anomaly, doing as well as was expected of the early favorites. The KKR is one of the only teams that has no real holes in its armor, with a strong batting line-up, performing all-rounders, and importantly, a very deep bowling line-up. The KKR also has the benefit of being one of the most successful teams in the IPL’s history having already won the title twice, in 2012 and 2014. Often positioned as the flashiest team due in large part to its celebrity ownership and colorful on-field appearance, the KKR remain the firm favorites this season, at least unless the Mumbai Indians and perhaps the Royal Challengers Bengaluru mount some sort of late season comeback. The KKR are well-balanced as a batting side with a strong opening pair of captain Gautam Gambhir and wicketkeeper-batsman Robin Uthappa. Manish Pandey and Yusuf Pathan add spine to the middle order. And, where the KKR really benefits is through its two overseas all-rounders who are both proven match winners- Shakib Al Hasan of Bangladesh, and Andre Russell of the West Indies. The KKR also has a strong bowling line-up consisting of pacers Morne Morkel, Umesh Yadav and Russell, and spinners Al Hasan, Piyush Chawla, Brad Hogg, and their trump card Sunil Narine of the West Indies, who has joined the side after his bowling action was cleared. The KKR at this point are the favorites, and if not the eventual champions, will at least contend strongly for the title at IPL 9.

The Penguin India Blog

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