Kolkata Knight Riders

Last Updated: Friday, April 7, 2017 - 16:25

Just like Mumbai Indians, KKR too have won the tournament twice and are arguably the most popular franchise in the competition. The Gautam Gambhir-led squad is also one of the most balanced sides in the competion too.

Gambhir, who has not given up on his hopes of making a comeback into the national team, has been the lynchpin of KKR's batting line-up over the years. Robin Uthappa has been in sensational form for his team in the last two years, and along with Gambhir, he forms one of the most formidable opening pairs in the tournament.

The presence of experienced Indian players in Yusuf Pathan, Manish Pandey, Piyush Chawala, Umesh Yadav, Suryakumar Yadav, Kuldeep Yadav further strengthens the squad.

KKR would be without Andre Russell this year, and the West Indian will be badly missed because of his all-round skills. While Chris Woakes was roped in as his replacement at the auction earlier this year, the English all-rounder has massive shoes to fill, in what is his maiden IPL season. Shakib Al Hasan is a world class all-rounder and an inseparable part of the team. However, the Bangladeshi all-rounder will miss the opening match against Gujarat Lions due to national team commitments in Sri Lanka.

Umesh Yadav's resurgence as a bowler in the last few months is a major boost for KKR. Among overseas seamers, Trent Boult was a good buy for Kolkata at the auction and the team management will have to choose between him and Nathan Coulter-Nile, who is also handy with the bat.

Kolkata have a brilliant coach in Jacques Kallis and it remains to be seen whether the team can win their third IPL title this year.

Captain: Gautam Gambhir

Coach: Jacques Kallis

Best performance: Winners in 2012 and 2014

Likely playing XI: Gautam Gambhir (c), Robin Uthappa, Manish Pandey, Suryakumar Yadav, Yusuf Pathan, Shakib Al Hasan, Chris Woakes, Sunil Narine, Piyush Chawla/Kuldeep Yadav, Nathan Coulter-Nile/Trent Boult, Umesh Yadav

Players to watch out for: Gautam Gambhir, Robin Uthappa, Kuldeep Yadav, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Sunil Narine, Chris Woakes.