The two times IPL champions, Kolkata Knight Riders are one of those teams who never fail to entertain their fans in every season. The franchise so far has always been one of the teams to give the other sides a tough time on the cricketing field.
Be it the batting department, the bowling or even fielding, the Knights have always successfully given their 100%. Despite the fact that Their batting order has undergone several changes in the last few seasons, it hasn’t really shown any signs of slowing down in any circumstances. Every new player which has been added to the squad has always successfully been able to give his best for the team so far.
This is one of the major reasons why the Kolkata based franchise managed to reach the finals of the tournament last season, thanks to the brilliant collective performance from all of their players throughout the season, particularly in the second phase.
This season the team management will like to take a step forward and lift the prestigious trophy for the 3rd time. In order to achieve their objective they’ll have to rebuild their lineup to a considerable amount considering the number of changes that have taken place due to the mega auction.
The first step certainly shall be to find an opening pair as solid as any other team so as to have a strong start in every game. Thanks to their brilliant work in the auction prior to the IPL this season the Knight Riders have plenty of options to chose from in order to fill up their opening slots.
Given below are three of the most probable opening pairs that KKR shall be used in the upcoming IPL season:-
1. Nitish Rana and Venkatesh Iyer
The first option available to the Knight Riders as openers is the pair of Venkatesh Iyer and Nitish Rana. Both these batsmen who’ve played for the Knights last season have a fair amount of experience regarding the situations they have to face while opening the batting for their side.
Venkatesh Iyer in particular who took the IPL by storm last season was in red hot form with the bat as he amassed runs after being promoted up the order by the team management once the second phase of the IPL began. He played a major role in turning things around for his side and helped his team to reach the finals with useful contributions in crucial games.
Nitish Rana on the other hand who has been a part of KKR for quite some time has featured in several positions in the batting order on the basis of what the situation has demanded earlier. Hence his versatility combined with the power-packed batting of Venkatesh Iyer shall be a good opening pair for the Knights to go within this IPL season.
Nitish Rana (IPL Stats):-
Matches – 77, Runs – 1820, Average – 28.4, Strike Rate – 132.5
Venkatesh Iyer (IPL 2021 Statss):-
Matches – 10, Runs – 370, Average – 41.1, Strike Rate – 128.8
2. Venkatesh Iyer and Aaron Finch
Another possible opening pair option for the Knight Riders shall be to send Aaron Finch up along with Venkatesh Iyer to open the innings. Aaron Finch who has a superb record in white-ball cricket both for his country and also in various T20 leagues shall be a good batsman to use up the order.
His special ability to put pressure on the bowlers right from ball 1 in the powerplay makes him unique. The Australian T20I Captain has earlier played for RCB and SRH in the IPL and thus has a fair bit of experience of handling the pressure of opening the batting in a tough league as this one.
Thus going ahead with the duo of Finch and Iyer shall definitely be a really smart move for Kolkata in this season of IPL.
Aaron Finch (IPL 2018 Stats):-
Matches – 87, Runs – 2005, Average – 25.70, Strike Rate – 127.70
3. Venkatesh Iyer and Ajinkya Rahane
Another possibility though sounds a bit out of the box shall be seeing KKR sending Ajinkya Rahane to open the batting with Venkatesh Iyer. The right-handed batsman who has featured for several other franchises in the IPL so far in his career has most of the time taken up the responsibility of opening the batting for most of the teams he’s played for so far.
In spite of the fact that he has a less impressive strike rate, his ability to play with a calm and composed mind in the early stages of an innings and the ability to go for the big smart shots when needed makes him a pretty handy batsman to have in the lineup. His 100 for the Rajasthan royals speaks of his ability to score big in the smallest format of the game.
Rahane’s controlled strokes at one end followed by Iter’s firepower at the other is surely bound to provide KKR with a desirable start in each game. The right hand left-hand combination of Iyer and Rahane would hence be a pretty good looking pair which KKR management might love to see open the batting for their side.
Ajinkya Rahane (IPL Stats):-
Matches – 151, Runs – 3941, Average – 31.5, Strike Rate – 121.3
Our Prediction: Out of all the above-mentioned batting pairs, though each of them is equally available to Kolkata Knight Riders this season, the most suitable combination of them in our opinion shall be of Venkatesh Iyer and Nitish Rana.
Since the departure of Shubham Gill, who had been a regular partner of Venkatesh Iyer in the previous season for Kolkata Knight Riders, the management was always looking for an equalled destructive and versatile batsman to fill up his place.
The fact that Nitish Rana has been an in form player for the Knights and played several crucial knocks while batting at this position makes him a much more feasible opening option to go with than the others.
Venkatesh Iyer who etched his name on the IPL books with his blistering batting for Kolkata Knight Riders last season shall no doubt be trusted upon by the team to deliver the same performance once again this season. Thus the Rana-Iyer duo in our eyes shall be the most suitable opening pair for the Knight Riders in the IPL 2022.