CLT20 bite-size preview: Kolkata Knight Riders

India

A rocketed resurgence through the latter half of this year's IPL has the Knight Riders primped and primed for bigger and better on the world stage.

<b>Brief Overview:</b> Success in the Indian Premier League has not necessarily translated to positive results in the Champions League Twenty20. A rocketed resurgence through the latter half of this year's IPL, though, has the Knight Riders primped and primed for bigger and better on the world stage.

<b>Key Strength:</b> When a player of the veteran Jacques Kallis' calibre is content to be sidelined for the greater good of the team, the franchise is certainly winning the sensibility stakes. This esoteric thinking, coupled with the practicalities of great batsmanship and plentiful bowling ranks, promises much.

<b>Probable Weakness:</b> The value of an all-rounder in an XI dictated by conditions and opposition is noteworthy, but Kolkata might have one too many – and not enough specialists. The pugnacious Piyush Chawla, particularly, seems a passenger.

<b>Batsman To Watch:</b> The absence of banned Bangladeshi Shakib Al Hasan will leave a large void in the middle order. Opportunity, then, knocks for Dutch international Ryan ten Doeschate to secure the important berth.

<b>Bowler To Watch:</b> The lanky Morne Morkel developed in leaps and bounds in the IPL earlier this year, and boasts the frame needed to extract steep bounce likely to trouble batsmen weak against the short ball, but has been sidelined by injury. Plenty of responsibility, then, lies on the shoulders of replacement Mavinder Bisla.

<b>Squad:</b> Gautam Gambhir (captain), Yusuf Pathan, Robin Uthappa, Piyush Chawla, Vinay Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Manish Pandey, Suryakumar Yadav, Kuldeep Yadav, Sunil Narine, Jacques Kallis, Ryan ten Doeschate, Mavinder Bisla, Pat Cummins, Andre Russell.

<b>Toughest Fixture:</b> Justifying the hype and billing as the tournament's most important match, the Knight Riders and arch rivals Chennai Super Kings will lock crowns and horns at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad on 17 September.

<b>They Said:</b> "Clearly, for the Champions League Twenty20, Shakib is not available to us. Although we have the options it is unfortunate considering he is an important player for us. We just have to respect the BCB's decision." – Knight Riders chief executive Venky Mysore.

<b>Cricket365's Prediction:</b> Losing semi-finalists.

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