Former Indian cricketer-turned commentator Aakash Chopra believes that the Eoin Morgan-led Kolkata Knight Riders [KKR] have a 50-50 chance of making it to the playoffs in the upcoming season of the Indian Premier League [IPL].
Lack of stability in their batting unit, underperforming senior players like Andre Russell, Dinesh Karthik, Sunil Narine, and skipper Eoin Morgan, mid-season change in leadership, and the inability of their bowlers to take wickets during the powerplay on a consistent basis led to KKR finishing at the 5th spot in the table last year.
Chopra has termed KKR as a ‘mid-table team’, whom he believes will just about make it to the top-4 but he is not backing them to finish at 1,2, or even 3.
“They are a mid-table team, which means they could be no. 4 or no. 5. So there is a possibility of qualifying, but I am not expecting them to qualify no. 1, 2 or 3. I am expecting them to qualify as no.4, towards the end they could start coming back and qualify. They have a 50-50 chance of qualifying is what I feel,” said Aakash Chopra in a video on his Facebook page.
The former opener reckoned that the absence of a quality death bowler could come back to haunt the Kolkata Knight Riders [KKR].
“They could be the most expensive team in the death overs. All their bowlers are good with the new ball or in the middle-overs. Pat Cummins does not bowl in the death, and it is generally not possible for Pat and Lockie to play together,” observed Chopra.
Varun Chakravarthy was one of the few positives for KKR in what was a rather forgettable campaign for the two-time champions. Aakash Chopra believes that the mystery spinner will take even more wickets this year as the tournament is taking place in India provided he stays fit.
“Varun Chakravarthy can again become their highest wicket-taker. He is a very good bowler, but there is a fitness issue with him. If he is fit, according to me, he will take a lot of wickets, and this time the matches will be played in India. He is a mystery spinner and could even be effective in Bangalore, where they’ll play a lot of matches,” said the former cricketer.
Chopra signed off by predicting that young opener Shubman Gill will hit the most number of boundaries in IPL 2021.
“Shubman Gill to hit the most number of fours. He will play as an opener and play all the 14 matches of the league phase. I am expecting him to hit more fours than anybody else in this entire team,” opined Chopra.
The Eoin Morgan-led KKR will commence their IPL 2021 campaign against David Warner’s SunRisers Hyderabad at the Chepauk on April 11.