The Kolkata Knight Riders have arguably been the most popular franchise in the Indian Premier League ever since its inception back in 2008. Although the city of Kolkata is known for its raucous support towards sport in general.
KKR’s popularity has primarily got to do with the fact that the majority shareholder in the franchise is none other than the King Of Bollywood Shahrukh Khan, arguably one of the most popular Indian individuals all over the world. The franchise is known to be extremely unpredictable on the field, and has endured several roller coaster seasons. So let’s take a look at this franchise in detail and rate their chances of success in the upcoming season.
Kolkata Knight Riders Franchise History
Kolkata Knight Riders are one of the original franchises of the IPL, active since the very first day of the league. They were also part of the first ever IPL match, against the Royal Challengers, under the lights, at the Chinaswamy Stadium on 18th April 2008.
Shahrukh Khan had got his entire entourage to support his team, with many prominent celebrities in attendance and they were visibly overjoyed with the opening ceremony. Kiwi opener Brendon McCullum though, had other ideas. He made the night his own. Sent in to open the innings with the legendary Sourav Ganguly at the other end, McCullum proceeded to indulge in the sort of big hitting the Indian crowds had never seen before. Shattering several records on the night, McCullum ended the night with a mammoth score of 158* off just 73 balls, wowing everyone in attendance and introducing the IPL to the world in style. He rained an unbelievable 13 sixes, instantly earning legendary status. His team comfortably won that match by a huge margin.
This match not only ensured that the IPL was here to stay, it also signalled that Kolkata Knight Riders would emerge as one of the major forces of the league, and it wasn’t long before they got their hands on the trophy multiple times.
The Kolkata franchise has always boasted of some world class players, ever since they played their first match. The original 2008 squad was absolutely star-studded, with the Prince Of Bengal Saurav Ganguly as their captain and icon player, followed by legends such as Ricky Ponting, Chris Gayle and Brendon McCullum. Among the Indian stars, Ishant Sharma, Murali Karthik and Ajit Agarkar strengthened their bowling.
However, the big names did not perform as expected, and KKR endured 3 back to back poor seasons, not even breaking into the top 5 even once. In 2011, however, the franchise revamped aggressively, as they ditched their iconic skipper Saurav Ganguly, and proceeded to sign Gautam Gambhir for a record fee from Delhi Capitals.
This changed the franchise’s fortunes as under Gambhir’s impeccable leadership they qualified for the play-offs for the first time in 2011, and then proceeded to win the title in 2012, amid wild celebrations in the city of joy. They repeated this feat again in the summer of 2014, emerging as champions after a dominant campaign, with their squad boasting of world-class talent like Kallis, Sunil Narine, Eoin Morgan and Shakib Al-Hasan. The 2014 season saw them add Chris Lynn, Pat Cummins and Morne Morkel, all of whom played a huge role in their title-winning season.
These additions set up a really solid core for the side for the seasons ahead, as KKR never once finished outside the top 5 since 2014, establishing themselves as one of the forces to be reckoned with in the league. The big-name additions continued, with the likes of Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Johnson, Jason Holder all joining the ranks. Gambhir was eventually replaced by Dinesh Karthik as captain in 2018, and the team finished 3rd in his first season, but could only muster a 5th placed finish the following season.
|Season||League standing||Final standing|
|2008||6th out of 8||League stage|
|2009||8th out of 8||League stage|
|2010||6th out of 8||League stage|
|2011||4th out of 10||Playoffs|
|2012||1st out of 9||Champions|
|2013||7th out of 9||League stage|
|2014||1st out of 8||Champions|
|2015||5th out of 8||League stage|
|2016||4th out of 8||Playoffs|
|2017||3rd out of 8||Playoffs|
|2018||3rd out of 8||Playoffs|
|2019||5th out of 8||League stage|
The Kolkata Knight Riders were purchased by Red Chillies Entertainment, the production company of Bollywood superstar Shahrukh Khan, in partnership with the Mehta Group, which comprised of Bollywood actress and former Miss India Juhi Chawla and her husband Jay Mehta, for a price of $75.09 million back in 2008. In 2015, the KKR board purchased a majority stake in a CPL team and renamed it to the Trinbago Knight Riders. The KKR board has been widely appreciated for their aggressive approach during the IPL auctions, which has led to some of the biggest names in world cricket turn out for them over the years.
Kolkata Knight Riders Legends And Records
The Kolkata Knight Riders have had some of the best players to have graced this league over the years.
Gautam Gambhir is the franchise’s highest run scorer with 3035 runs in 108 innings between 2011 and 2017. His batting average was 31.05 and he struck a massive 27 half-centuries. He is also the most successful captain in KKR’s history, with 61 wins in 108 matches for a win percentage of 55.94%. He was instrumental as the franchise lifted 2 titles under his able leadership, and emerged as one of the strongest sides in the league throughout his tenure.
Sunil Narine completely changed the fortunes of KKR ever since he joined the side back in 2012. He is their highest wicket-taker in IPL history with 113 wickets in 91 matches, at an exceptional average of under 20. He is also a very handy batsman, often opening the innings and providing some blistering starts, which make him a very valuable asset for the side.
The legendary Brendon McCullum owns the record for the highest individual score in a match, with his blistering opening day knock of 158* yet to be beaten.
Apart from these players, many other legends of the game such as Ponting, Kallis, Ganguly, Gayle, Morgan and Brett Lee have all turned up for this franchise at some point.