The 12th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is nearing the halfway stage and the points table has shaped up interestingly. While Chennai Super Kings (CSK) have been the standout performers, three other teams are tied on eight points and two others on six. However, if there is one team other than CSK who has dominated this IPL, it has to be the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR).
The Dinesh Karthik-led franchise has been in some really good form this season. Despite being down and out at times, they have found a way to come out and win the game from the precarious position. With four wins out of six games, KKR lie at the second position of the points table.
Their two losses have come against Delhi Capitals (DC) and Chennai Super Kings (CSK). In fact, their loss against Delhi came in a Super Over and the result might’ve gone either side. The game against CSK was the only one in which they were outplayed. That came on a very sluggish surface as well. But that aside, KKR have been on a roll in this tournament.
Hence, as we head to the halfway stage of this IPL, let’s look at five reasons why KKR will lift the 2019 IPL title.
#1 The Dre-Russ Factor
Andre Russell has been one of the biggest reasons for KKR’s success so far. He’s been the game-changer and the match-winner, turning games single-handedly. The hard-hitting Jamaican all-rounder has often proved to be the difference between KKR and the other teams.
In this season, Russell has produced match-winning efforts in almost every game. It’s largely been with the bat but he has brought KKR out of the dumps on multiple occasions. He has had scored of 49 not out, 48, 62, 48 not out and 50 not out (latest) in the five innings he’s batted. The 30-year-old has a strike-rate of 212.39 in this IPL. In fact, he has a career IPL strike-rate of 184.10 which is the highest by any batsman in the history of the IPL. In a couple of games (against SRH and RCB), he helped KKR chase down 53 in the last three overs. He also struck a fifty on a tough pitch at the Chepauk against CSK.
We talk about Russell, the batsman but Russell, the bowler has done well too. In fact, he’s the highest wicket-taker of KKR this season despite not bowling much. KKR have tried to manage his bowling workload as he has been injury-prone.
Hence, the Russell factor is one of the biggest reasons why KKR are a huge threat this season. He has shown he can turn games single-handedly and he has shown it as well.