The Rise of the Knights
KKR's rise from a mediocre team to one of the favorites for the IPL
Korbo Lorbo Jeetbo……Started as one of the star-studded teams and also started the IPL extravaganza with a bang with that blitzkrieg of an innings by Brendon McCullum that raised the bar for the entire tournament. Since then the IPL has just continued to grow at an exponential, however not without a few obstacles of course.
The Kolkata Knight Riders started as one of the favourites considering the power-packed team they had assembled in the auctions. However, the side never clicked in the first season and disappointed all its fans across the city of joy. The second season in South Africa proved a further disaster given the controversies surrounding the captain and the coach (Greg Chappel). Having finished last in the league table, the side’s morale was at rock bottom. The third season saw improved performance from the team; but not sufficient to take them through to the semi-finals.
The complete reshuffle of the team worked wonders for them in the remaining seasons. Appointing Gautam Gambhir as a captain brought the much-needed aggression in the team and also the determination to perform better as a team. A fourth finish was a welcome result for the Kolkata crowd, who had backed their team right from the very beginning.
The first titles
The fifth season saw the Knights emerge from the ashes and truly. A consistent performance in the league matches and a cracking finale against the Chennai Super Kings saw the Knights finish as Champions for the first time. They displayed a new breed of aggressive cricket that saw them defy the odds and dethrone the reigning Champions, the Chennai Super Kings.
A comparatively poor sixth season was followed by another stellar performance that saw them claim the IPL title against the much fancied Kings XI Punjab. The Knight Riders were involved in 2 stellar final matches in both the seasons, which saw them chase down 180+ scores in the final match on both the occasions. Sunil Narine had become a new name of mystery with his variations and change of pace. Robin Uthappa showed his class with 9 consecutive scores of 40+ in the opening position and giving quick, consistent starts to the Knight Riders.
The most bankable team
The 2 titles have made them a real favourite in the 8th season as well. An almost similar team to the previous winning season. The continuous support from their charismatic owner Shah Rukh Khan and the huge Kolkata crowd has only added to their confidence. Being so closely associated with SRK would not be easy, with so much media attention and expectations of success, KKR have done pretty well to concentrate on the game. This association does have its own advantages as it brings a certain glamour element to their team.
The team picked keeping in mind the turning, slow track of Kolkata has responded really well to the need of the hour and have done quite well at the home venue.
Having started poorly, the Knight Riders are been considered favourites in the T-20 competition. And the wonderful ride to the final of the champions league T-20 with a half-strength side has proved their mettle on the World level.