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Kolkata Knight Riders look to find a way, as they have done before

On paper, Kolkata Knight Riders do not have a very imposing side, as has been the case over the past few years. But somehow, someway they find a way to reach the semi-finals at the very least. The Knight Riders are one of three teams to have won the Indian Premier League title twice.

The key to Kolkata Knight Riders’ fortunes will be the performance of Andre Russell, who was the West Indies’ most reliable performer in their road to glory as they claimed their second World Twenty20 title in India this month. Over the past few years he has evolved into a feared performer in the shortest format, particularly due to his all-round performances in the Big Bash League.

Captain Gautam Gambhir holds the key with the bat, as he has been over the past few years. With the ‘distraction’ of playing for India, Gambhir is now an IPL veteran and a formidable one at that. He will be ably supported by Manish Pandey, with whom India made a grave folly in omitting from their original World T20 squad and also Colin Munro, who can consider himself the most explosive No.3 in world cricket today. Shakib Al Hasan is a dependable performer with both ball and bat, as is the forever-young Brad Hogg.

The bowling though could be Knight Riders’ Achilles heel. There is uncertainty surrounding Sunil Narine’s participation after being banned from bowling due to a suspect action. Morne Morel was (surprisingly!) not even selected in South Africa’s World T20 squad, Umesh Yadav has a penchant for conceding runs and Indian conditions do not suit John Hastings.

What we can expect from Kolkata Knight Riders

If Kolkata Knight Riders can overcome weaknesses while bowling, they will be a very dangerous outfit to play against. Expect them to win all their matches at Eden Gardens, which is their fortress, but they are likely to fall short away from home. Kolkata Knight Riders will fly under the radar and a semi-final spot is not out of their grasp.

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