#IPL: Kolkata Knight Riders - KKR the defending champions aim for gold again

PREVIEW: On cricketbadger.com we preview the chances of each IPL franchise - here’s our appraisal on the 2015 chances of the Koklata Knight Riders KKR …

IPLadvertKKR have won two of the last three editions of the IPL and fancy their chances again in IPL8.

It took them some time to understand the competition and get their sea legs.

In the first three incarnations of the IPl they were a flop, particularly in 2009 when they propped up the final table in South Africa.

In 2011 they sacked Sourav Ganguly and parted ways with star names such as Chris Gayle and Brendon McCullum. They appointed Gautam Gambhir as captain and became a force to be recjoned with.

In Gambhir’s opening campaign as skipper he led his side to the final four and a year later he had the IPL prize in his hands after beating Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the final. He’d led from the front scoring 590 tournament runs in that 2012 success


Skipper Gambhir is the heartbeat of a strong KKR team unit

While Gambhir was key to KKR’s change in fortunes, so too was Caribbean spin king Sunil Narine.

The Trinidadian snaffled 24 wickets at just 13.5 apiece with an economy rate of only 5.47 runs per over. He was named the player of the tournament in 2012 and was a major player in their triumph in 2014. He claimed 21 wickets at 19.38, while Robin Uthappa was their star bat with 660 runs.

Aussie spin verteran Brad Hogg has been drafted in as cover should Narine not make the tournament and Azhar Mahmood and Johan Botha will enjoy the slow turners of Eden Gardens.

Shakib Al Hasan, the Bangladesh all-rounder, has been a key performer in the past but he’s only available for the first two matches before leaving for international duty. Ryan ten Doeschate, Andre Russell, Morne Morkel, and Pat Cummins are players that need to fill the breach.

In a format that is all about momentum, KKR won nine matches on the bounce to take the crown with a late charge after overcoming a difficult start which had seen them win only two of their first seven fixtures.

There is little light and shade with KKR. Between their triumphs in 2012 and 2014 they finished 7th. Supporters must find them either supercharged or completely infuriating.


The KKR motto, or anthem, is ‘Korbo, Lorbo, Jeetbo Re’. In English that translates as ‘Will do, will fight, will win’.

The franchise is owned by Shah Rukh Khan, or SRK. He’s a mega star and gets bigger cheers for turning up than his team get for winning.

Coach: Trevor Bayliss

Previous record: Winners 2012, 2014. Next best: 4th in 2011.

THE KEY MAN - Sunil Narine

The KKR franchise has been very concerned about Narine. He was reported for a suspect bowling action during last year’s Champions League and prevented from playing in the final. The ICC recently cleared his action, yet the BCCI have not accepted their report, insisting on a retest.

KKR, obviously determined to field their match winner, have threatened everything from their withdrawal from the competition to legal action if he is forced to undergo another test.

Whatever the result, it’s easy to forget that Narine is a human being. The uncertainty of this threat to his career and participation in the competition will have hit him hard.


Rich before he’s played a first-class match, the unknown Cariappa was the subject of a $400,000 USD (Dh1.6 million) bid by KKR. The spinner went for 24 times his base price in the auction, a move that has generated much expectation.

If he lives up to his hype he could be a real star. A mystery spinner, he bowls leg-spin and off-breaks with the same grip.


Morne Morkel celebrates a wicket

Morne Morkel

Gautam Gambhir has become KKR’s inspirational skipper who leads them on and off the field. He has scored crucial runs for the franchise since he transferred from the Delhi Daredevils in 2011. At the top of the order he is crucial in setting the tone.

Robin Uthappa won the Orange Cap last season with 660 runs. In a run of 10 innings he past 40 every time. The wicketkeeper batsman was instrumental in KKR’s success last term. He was the highest run scorer in the 2014/15 Ranji Trophy.

Morne Morkel is fresh from taking 17 wickets at the ICC Cricket World Cup for South Africa. He is quick, his height generates bounce and if he gets it right could be the spearhead that KKR are looking for.

Umesh Yadav was also a success at the Cricket World Cup with 18 wickets for India. He is a supporters dream - he gives his al for the cause.

Yusuf Pathan walloped 72 off 22 balls against the Sunrisers Hyderabad to set an IPL record of the fastest 50 in only 15 balls. Not as consistent as he once was he still has it in him to win matches when the mood is right.


A well balanced side, KKR are a team rather than a bunch of world superstars. If Narine is cleared to bowl they will make the top four. If he’s sidelined they could struggle - he’s that important.


Gautam Gambhir (capt), Sunil Narine, Robin Uthappa (wk), Piyush Chawla, Yusuf Pathan, Shakib Al Hasan, Morne Morkel, Umesh Yadav, Manish Pandey, Pat Cummins, Ryan ten Doeschate, Suryakumar Yadav, Andre Russell, Veer Pratap Singh, Kuldeep Yadav, Brad Hogg, Sumit Narwal, Sheldon Jackson, Aditya Garhwal, KC Cariappa, Vaibhav Rawal, Azhar Mahmood, Johan Botha.

James Buttler

James Buttler

James has been working as a cricket journalist and broadcaster since 2006.
As the editor of Cricket Badger he is intent on building the website to give quality coverage of the domestic game around the world.
James was the full-time Media Manager at Yorkshire County Cricket Club between 2007 and 2010.
James is a published author and a writer/video contributor to many cricket publications.
He's unsurprisingly a complete cricket badger!
James Buttler

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