Top 5 picks of Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL history
Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) are one of the successful team in IPL history. They are the only team after Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians who have lifted the IPL trophy more than once.
Owned by film star Shahrukh Khan, Juhi Chawla and Jay Mehta, the team has reached the playoffs on six occasions and has lifted the trophy twice (2012, 2014) under Gautam Gambhir's captaincy.
The team also holds the record of a longest winning streak in IPL (9). They have a win percentage of 53.1%, third best among the teams who were part of the IPL from the first season itself.
Kolkata team management has been shrewd at the auction table and has roped in players with credibility.
In this slider, we will have a look at the top 5 picks of KKR over the years.
#1 Gautam Gambhir (C)
Languishing at the bottom half of the table for the initial three seasons, the KKR team management sought after an astute leader ahead of the 2011 auction.
Gautam Gambhir, who had started his IPL career with his city-based franchise, Delhi Daredevils, was released ahead of the 2011 auctions. KKR bought Gautam Gambhir at $2.4 million, making him the most expensive player at the 2011 IPL auctions. He was assigned to lead the team too, and rest, as they say, is history. He turned Kolkata Knight Riders' fortunes.
Gambhir repaid the owners' faith as KKR qualified for the playoffs for the first time in the IPL history. Gambhir was splendid with the willow too, scoring 378 runs in 15 matches at an average of 34.36.
However, they lost on to Mumbai Indians in the eliminator, and with that, they finished fourth that season.
Next year, Gambhir was rock-solid with the bat and scored runs consistently for the team. Kolkata, for the first time, finished second in the points table after the league phase.
In the qualifiers, they defeated Delhi Daredevils and booked their maiden berth in the IPL finals.
A special inning from Manvinder Bisla and Jacques Kallis saw Kolkata completing the chase of 191 in 19.4 overs in the final against CSK. Gambhir ended the season as the second leading run scorer with 590 runs from 17 innings at a strike rate of 143.55.
Gambhir led the team to their second title in 2014. He was released ahead of the 2018 IPL auctions but by then he had scored 3035 runs in 108 innings, playing for KKR.