End of an Era for KKR as Lucknow Look to Seal Play-off Spot


As they settle into their seats, thousands of Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) fans will glance wistfully at the opposition dugout. Gautam Gambhir is now a mentor for Lucknow Super Giants. In the seven seasons he spent as KKR captain, they won two titles (2012 and 2014) and made the play-offs on three other occasions. Only once, in 2013, did they win less than 50 per cent of their league matches. Since Gambhir left after the 2017 campaign, they have won more than seven games in a season just once.

Even a victory probably won’t be enough for KKR to squeeze into the playoffs. And as they gear up for a final home game of the season, there’s a definite end-of-era feel to the proceedings. Given how erratic and underwhelming their performances have been this year, it would be a big surprise if Andre Russell and Sunil Narine were to return next season. Narine has lost his wicket-taking mojo, and can’t buy a run, while Russell has been expensive with the ball and delivered precisely one significant innings. Veterans like Tim Southee and David Wiese have also made no impact, and there would be a big overhaul before 2024.

Lucknow need a win to ensure a place in the last four. They have struggled for consistency, but their batting firepower – Quinton de Kock, Marcus Stoinis and Nicholas Pooran, to name just three – should enjoy the conditions in Kolkata. Like KKR, they have struggled with the ball. Mark Wood played just four matches, and Ravi Bishnoi is the only other bowler with more than ten wickets. The return of Mohsin Khan, one of last season’s big finds, from injury definitely enhances their options, even though Avesh Khan has struggled to match his performances from two seasons ago.

Krunal Pandya, captaining Lucknow with KL Rahul out injured, has urged Mohun Bagan fans in Kolkata to come and support his side – the two teams have the same owner – but he’s no MS Dhoni to get the crowd dancing to his tune. Instead, a disappointed fan base will probably use the occasion to say goodbye to their heroes of the past decade, especially as KKR are unlikely to get the result they need.


Venue and time

Eden Gardens, Kolkata. 7:30 PM 

Expected conditions and toss

Even with the evening start, it will be oppressively hot and humid. The temperature will be around 33C at the start of play, and the humidity of 75 per cent should mean dew becomes a major factor in the second innings. Expect the team winning the toss to field first.


Lucknow won both their encounters in 2022, including a remarkable pursuit of 209 that they pulled off without losing a wicket.

Likely Playing XI and Impact Player

KKR will likely bring in Suyash Sharma for Venkatesh Iyer when they have to bowl. Lucknow will use either Yash Thakur or Prerak Mankad as the Impact sub depending on whether they bat or field first.

Kolkata Knight Riders: Jason Roy, Rahmanullah Gurbaz (WK), Venkatesh Iyer, Nitish Rana (C), Rinku Singh, Andre Russell, Shardul Thakur, Sunil Narine, Vaibhav Arora, Harshit Rana, Varun Chakravarthy.

Lucknow Super Giants: Quinton de Kock (WK), Deepak Hooda, Marcus Stoinis, Nicholas Pooran, Krunal Pandya (C), Prerak Mankad, Ayush Badoni, Swapnil Singh, Naveen-ul-Haq, Mohsin Khan, Ravi Bishnoi.

Also Read: Conversations with Hardik Helped, Says Krunal Pandya of Lucknow Captaincy

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *