The Resurgence Of KKR – 4 Years On, Is The Dream Still On?




Gautam Gambhir

Gautam Gambhir

For any self respecting Bengali or a cricket enthusiast from the City of Joy, IPL till last year meant another chance to see their darling Saurav Ganguly in action. It was an opportunity for them to see one of India’s most astute captains in action again.

When SRK bought the team and proceeded to attract some of the best coaching staff available, people started expecting great things from the outfit. A spectacular failure followed which saw KKR in the news for all reasons except their cricketing exploits.  Multiple captains, questionable buys such as Mortaza, the tom foolery around the fake IPL player blog – in accordance to Murphy’s Law EVERYTHING that could go wrong did!

Cometh the fourth edition of the extravaganza KKR again made headlines, this time due to their decision not to buy Ganguly in the player auctions. Crowd mayhem ensued with bandhs being called in the city to protest this act of ‘injustice’. For once the team management refrained from being media friendly and did what they are supposed to do, mind their business and focus on the cricketing aspects. They almost built a new team around Gautam Gambhir and entrusted him with captaincy. They created a core group of players based on skill rather than star power. Players were bought based on what they added to the team, not because they would sell shirts.

In the first match of the season, supporters were left feeling a sense of déjà vu with KKR again throwing away a game from a winning position. However the way they bounced back was remarkable. Henceforth they have never been out of the top 4 places and been in the contention throughout with some solid performances.

The biggest focus point of their resurgence probably stems from the fact that they do not have a single player in the running for the Orange Cap or the Purple Cap (though it makes no sense for the Purple Cap with Malinga some 10 wickets ahead of everyone else). Their victories have been built by team efforts rather than by standout individual performances. Nonetheless there have been some players who have performed well throughout – namely Gambhir, Kallis and Manoj Tiwary in the batting department and their spinning trio comprising of Shakib al Hasan, Iqbal Abdullah and Yusuf Pathan.

KKR had qualified for the playoffs with Punjab losing against Deccan similar to what happened towards the end in IPL 3. So looking forward how are the chances for KKR?

Strengths

  • Their spinners will be able to contain any batting lineup.
  • Kallis & Gambhir have looked good at the crease throughout.

Weaknesses

  • Inconsistent pace attack.
  • Lower middle order has not yet come up with significant contributions.

Opportunities

  • Mumbai, their opponents have lost their aura of invincibility.
  • Dominating Malinga seems to upset the Mumbai applecart, as was shown by Watson.

Threats

  • Mumbai’s impact players – Pollard, Malinga, Bhajji, Rayudu.

So will it finally be the year of the underdog? Will it finally be the year that Kolkata will get a chance to rejoice after being ill-treated for so long? All depends on the Knight Rider’s ability to pull their game together. They are probably the most balanced side in the playoffs with a lot of all-rounders to lend support to the main crew. But then again the fickle nature of Twenty20 cricket throws all sound cricketing logic out of the window once the match begins.

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