IPL 2024: SWOT analysis of Kolkata Knight Riders


Image Source : PTI Kolkata Knight Riders.

Barring a final appearance in 2021, Kolkata Knight Riders haven’t quite managed to produce the goods in the recent IPL seasons. However, with two of their key figures back into the mix for 2024, in the form of captain Shreyas Iyer and mentor Gautam Gambhir, they are looking like a different outfit this time around.

Let’s look at how KKR might fare this season by analysing their squad.

Strengths

Finishers

Kolkata Knight Riders have two of the most dangerous finishers going around in T20 cricket at their disposal in the form of Rinku Singh and the Caribbean veteran Andre Russell. Rinku enjoyed a break-out season last year and won games for the side single-handedly. 

The southpaw aggregated 474 runs in 14 games at a stunning strike rate of 149.53. He scored four half-centuries and was also consistent in terms of run-scoring as he averaged 59.25 with the willow in hand.

He was rewarded for his brilliant season and earned his India call-up. Rinku is coming into the 17th edition of the IPL on the back of some match-winning performances for Team India and hence must be high on confidence.

On the other hand, Russell has been one of the consistent performers for KKR over the years and will be expected to perform a similar role with the willow in hand this season. The feared ball-striker from the Caribbean has an IPL career strike rate of 174.00 and an impressive IPL season can cement a place for him in the West Indian squad for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup.

Spinners

In addition to their brilliant finishers, KKR also have three quality spinners in their arsenal. Sunil Narine, Varun Chakravarthy and Suyash Sharma provide a formidable look to KKR’s bowling attack which is otherwise over-reliant on Mitchell Starc.

Narine is one of the most experienced players in the KKR squad for the season. The veteran has bagged 163 wickets in 162 IPL games over the years at an impressive economy rate of 6.73.

With 11 wickets in 14 games during the IPL 2023 edition, Narine had an underwhelming tournament and would like to redeem himself this season.

KKR’s mystery spinner Varun is one of their biggest weapons. Varun has plenty of arrows in his quiver and batters mostly struggle to pick him. He has snared 62 wickets in 56 games at an economy rate of 7.45 and has a four-for and five-for to his name.

Suyash has a very well-disguised wrong’un and it helped him outfox many batters in the previous season. After an early burst, Suyash struggled to deliver consistently for KKR and it is something he would like to address this season.

Weaknesses

Over-reliance on Mitchell Starc

KKR’s pacers were unable to make early inroads in the powerplay during the last season and struggled to stem the flow of runs at the death as well. In order to address the same, KKR went after Starc at the IPL 2024 auction and acquired his services for a whopping INR 24.75 crore.

However, barring Starc their pace attack wears a very blunk look with Harshit Rana and Chetan Sakariya available in their ranks. Their overseas signing Dushmantha Chameera is yet to join the camp as he is nursing an injury and therefore KKR seem over-reliant on Starc.

Captain’s fitness

KKR were dealt a major blow last season when Shreyas Iyer was ruled out for the entire tournament due to back injury and had to undergo surgery to fix the issue. The sudden change in leadership hurt the side and KKR failed to make it to the playoffs.

Though Shreyas is available right from the outset this season, he is coming into the tournament battling back spasms.

Shreyas encountered back issues in the lead-up to IPL 2024 and had to miss the Ranji Trophy quarters for Mumbai. He did turn up for the semis and the finals but couldn’t take the field on the fourth and the fifth day of the final against Vidarbha due to the same problem.

KKR need a fit Shreyas to go all the way this season as an injury to him can jeopardize their campaign.

Opportunities

Other than Mumbai Indians (five-time IPL champions) and Chennai Super Kings (five-time IPL winners), KKR have been the third-most successful franchise in the history of the tournament. KKR won the IPL for the first time in 2012 and repeated the same feat in 2014 to emerge as a force to be reckoned with.

However, since then they haven’t quite lived up to the expectations of their fans. After the glorious 2014 season, KKR have only managed to reach the final once and it happened during the 2021 season where they lost to Chennai Super Kings.

Hence, the 2024 season is a wonderful opportunity for KKR to win the trust of their fans back with another silverware.

The 17th edition of the tournament has witnessed a reunion between Gautam Gambhir and KKR. It was Gambhir who led them to the two title finishes in 2012 and 2014 and now has a task at hand to recreate the magic as the mentor of the side.

Threats

KKR have tried as many as 12 opening combinations recently in the tournament which goes on to suggest that they are yet to narrow down on an opening pair that could get them off to fliers.

Kolkata’s campaign is about to get underway in the 2024 season and they are likely to try out a new opening pair yet again. They have Phil Salt and Rahmanullah Gurbaz as overseas opening options but only one of the two will likely get a place in the XI.

If KKR don’t get their opening pair spot on early in the season then that will put extreme pressure on their middle and the lower middle order.



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