As of writing this, Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) have been confirmed to finish at the top of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 points table having one match left already. This has been a significant improvement since last year with Shreyas Iyer returning as captain and former Gautam Gambhir returning as mentor. But, it has been the opening duo of Sunil Narine and Phil Salt that has been one of the big positives for the team.

Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) finished the IPL 2023 in 7th place and couldn’t make it to the playoffs. But since then, there has been significant improvement with the team set to finish at the top of the points table for the very first time in its history.

There have been many reasons behind this success for the Knights, but one of the big reasons is the hard-hitting dynamic opening duo of Phil Salt and Sunil Narine, who both have scored 435 and 461 runs respectively. However, much like the other English players, those who have been included in England’s T20 World Cup 2024 squad, have all returned home to prepare for the mega event, leaving KKR to fill a big gap. In this article, we take a look at 3 players who can fill in Phil Salt’s boots in the Playing XI in the playoffs.

Venkatesh Iyer

The first option could be Venkatesh Iyer. Iyer has lacked game time this IPL 2024. Iyer has been played all around the batting lineup due to good starts or impact player rule but has never been used as an opening batter in IPL 2024. This could be the first time that the batter is promoted to opening, but the only issue is that both Iyer and Narine are left-hand batters.

Angkrish Raghuvanshi

Another potential candidate for the opening slot could be KKR’s 18-year-old youngster Angkrish Raghuvanshi. Angkrish has got regular game time in the IPL 2024 due to an injury to Nitish Rana. But with the experienced batter back, Angkrish has gone back to the bench. But, he could be used as an opener who loves batting against pace bowling and is normally an opener himself.

Rahmanullah Gurbaz

Probably the most suitable candidate to replace the outgoing hard-hitting opening Phil Salt would be another hard-hitting opening batter, Afghanistan’s Rahmanullah Gurbaz. Gurbaz was KKR’s first-choice opener in the IPL 2023 and was playing the aggressor’s role very well. He could easily fit in to replace Salt and continue playing with the same philosophy as Phil Salt.

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