The Kolkata Knight Riders will be facing the Mumbai Indians for a shot to face Rising Pune Supergiant in the final on Sunday. This is a crucial encounter for KKR because they have lost both of their previous encounters to the men in blue. Given Mumbai’s destructive batting firepower. KKR need to rely heavily on their openers to come out all guns blazing. With a player like Chris Lynn in fine form, the question remains as to who will join him on the opening attack. Sunil Narine has been a regular opener for the KKR side but has been fairly inconsistent. Uthappa on the other hand got his chance to open in the last match and squandered it. So let us analyse and see who who be best suited to join Chris Lynn.
Kolkata took a huge gamble when they promoted him up the order to the position of an opener. After a fairly strong start, the West Indian seemed to fizzle out and was constantly getting dismissed cheaply, until Chris Lynn rejoined the team. I am not sure whether Lynn’s inclusion suddenly rejuvenated him, but in the very first match of their partnership, against Royal Challengers Bangalore, Narine scored a half century. But it was back to square one in the next match against Kings XI Punjab where he was dismissed for just 18 runs.
Narine’s IPL in numbers as an opener: 37, 6, 42, 34, 16, 4, 1, 0, 54, 18, 0.
Uthappa usually comes in at No. 3 but for a change, he opened the batting attack… only to be sent back to the pavilion for 1 run. although to be fair to him, the match had been shortened due to weather conditions. The 2016 season could give a clearer understanding of Uthappa’s abilities as an opening batsman. He was a player who started off the season well but ran out of steam towards the end. His highest score that season was 72 runs.
Uthappa’s 2016 IPL in numbers as an opener: 35, 8, 38, 53, 0, 36, 72, 1, 70, 14, 4, 2, 25, 25 and 11.
Whatever the scenario, KKR have to choose between these two players to open the attack.