Kolkata Knight Riders represent the city of Kolkata in the Indian Premier League (IPL). The franchise is owned by Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan, actress Juhi Chawla and her spouse Jay Mehta. The Kolkata-based based unit play their home games at the Eden Gardens.
The Knight Riders are one of the most successful teams in the history of the league. They are one of the only three teams to have won the IPL title more than once. They won their maiden title in 2012 by defeating Chennai Super Kings in the final. Two years later, they repeated the feat by beating Kings XI Punjab. They also held the record for the longest winning streak by any Indian team in T20s. They had won 14 consecutive games.
Kolkata Knight Riders had a tough start to the league. Despite having Sourav Ganguly, one of India’s most decorated skipper, as skipper and having players like Brendon McCullum, Chris Gayle, David Hussey, Ricky Ponting and Umar Gul in the first season, they failed to fire. They finished sixth in the eight-team tournament after winning six of the 14 games.
In the next season, their fortunes did not improve. In fact, they ended up with the wooden spoon after managing a total of just 3 wins through the entire season. The season was marred with several controversies most notably the one associated with the captaincy. Head coach John Buchanan had proposed the idea of appointing different captains but it had backfired.
In 2010, Ganguly was the lone captain and the franchise did reasonably well. They finished sixth in the table after winning 7 of 14 games.
The rise and transformation to a powerhouse:
After three dismal seasons, Kolkata Knight Riders took some big decisions ahead of the auction for the fourth season in 2011. Sourav Ganguly was released and was not bought in the auction. The big decision led to protest rallies, signature campaigns throughout the state.
KKR, however, were hell-bent to improve their fortunes and took some bold calls. They appointed Gautam Gambhir as the captain after buying him for a record-breaking $2.4 million. Hard-hitting Yusuf Pathan was also picked up for a whopping $2.1 million. Some other notable names bought were Shakib Al Hasan, Brad Haddin, Jacques Kallis, Brett Lee, Ryan ten Doeschate, Eoin Morgan and James Pattinson.
The big calls immediately paid off as the Kolkata Knight Riders finished third in the league after winning 8 of the 14 games. They also qualified for the Champions League T20 but exited the tournament at the group stage after winning two and losing as many.
In 2012, they eventually won their maiden IPL title by beating Chennai Super Kings by 5 wickets in the final. The successful season was followed by a poor outing in 2013. The defending champions could win only 6 of their 14 leagues and end seventh in the tournament.
The Kolkata-based franchise, however, bounced back in style in 2014 and went on to defeat Kings XI Punjab in the final to win the title. The win made them only the second team after Chennai Super Kings to win the title twice. They had also made it to the final of the Champions League T20 but had lost the title-decider against Chennai Super Kings.
In the following three years, KKR ended in the top half of the table but could not go all the way or make it to the final. In the last season, they made it to the second qualifier where they lost to eventual winners Mumbai Indians.
Kolkata Knight Rider’s Home ground:
Kolkata Knight Riders play their home games at the iconic Eden Gardens in Kolkata. The famous stadium is owned by the Cricket Association of Bengal and is the largest cricket stadium in India with a seating capacity of over 90,000.
In 2011, the stadium was renovated to meet the standards set by the ICC for the 2011 Cricket World Cup. As a result, the seating capacity was reduced to around 68,000.
In 2013, the Knight Riders played two of their home games at the JSCA International Cricket Stadium in Ranchi.
Team motto, logo design and jersey colour of KKR:
The official theme of the team is Korbo, Lorbo, Jeetbo Re (we will perform, fight and win!). The logo has a “knight” with his Viking helmet armor & the shield embosses with the words “Kolkata Knight Riders”.
The team’s primary colours are purple and gold.
Season-wise performance of Kolkata Knight Riders:
Indian Premier League
Champions League T20
Indian Premier League
(DNQ = Did Not Qualify , TBD = To Be Decided)
Kolkata Knight Riders have earned a reputation of assembling well-balanced squads every year. And just like the previous seasons, they did not go all out in this year’s auction and cautiously went for some choicest of players. Prior to the auction, they had dropped a huge bombshell by not retaining their talismanic skipper Gautam Gambhir who had led them to two IPL titles. Instead, they had retained the West Indian duo of Sunil Narine and Andre Russell.
KKR entered the auction with a purse of Rs 59 crore and ended up splurging the entire amount to buy only 17 players. They broke the bank on their ex-opener Chris Lynn with Rs 9.6 crores to secure his services. In addition, they secured the services of Mitchell Starc, Dinesh Karthik, Mitchell Johnson to build a squad that is more than capable of challenging for the title.
Kolkata Knight Riders kept the nucleus of the side by buying Robin Uthappa, Piyush Chawla, and Kuldeep Yadav. They also bought India Under 19 fast-bowling sensation Kamlesh Nagarkoti and batting star Shubman Gill.
Current squad of Kolkata Knight Riders :
Dinesh Karthik (c)
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