The journey of two times IPL2022 winner Kolkata Knight Riders has been full of ups and downs. With KKR currently being the third most valuable team (Brand value), it’s easy to forget that they couldn’t even manage to qualify for playoffs for the first 3 consecutive times when IPL commenced. From finishing at the last position in the 2nd edition of IPL to actually winning the title in the 5th edition, KKR came a long way and took some bold steps to turn over their hours of darkness.
Kolkata Knight Riders changed their squad from the core and at many fundamental levels to achieve this feat in just 3 years. KKR identified its weaknesses and took some real hard steps like letting go of well established Batsman Cheteshwar Pujara and thus making team much more T20 oriented than a team with big names.
One of the biggest changes team made was in being the captain of the team. It was the most significant change that completely revolutionized the entire team and gave rise to a completely new KKR with much better intent. Sourav Ganguly has been a prominent name in Indian cricket for years and brought a lot of success to the Indian cricket team but he just couldn’t do that with KKR. The new team under the leadership of Gautam Gambhir transformed into a completely different team. A team no one ever expected KKR to become. Gautam Gambhir led the team from the front and even became the face of the team. He brought positive energy to the team and led from the front and made the Knight Riders believe in them and aim of winning.
Not just the captain, The Knight Riders even changed their coach and this multi-level change in management shows their seriousness and boldness towards their aim. The team brought in the legendary Australian coach Trevor Harley Bayliss. Kolkata Knight Riders also launched a new marketing campaign titled “New Dawn, New Knights” and a new logo. These changes at so many levels helped them to fade away from their past and bounce back with a new strategy that too without any baggage.
KKR bought back Brendon McCullum for $900,000 and West Indies Sunil Narine for $700,000. They also bought South-African Marchant de Lange for $50,000. These were some of the game turning investments made by the team back then. These were the investments that left a mark as Sunil Narine was the 2nd highest wicket-taking bowler in that season. This really boosted its morale and provided immense strength to the team’s bowling attack. Sunil Narine changed matches by taking many crucial wickets and establishing KKR’s dominance on the field.
With all these experiments and tons of efforts, the team finally managed to win their 1st IPL season ever and proved that it was indeed “New Dawn, New Knights”.
The Knight Riders kept their fundamentals intact and with similar strategies went all-in with the flow and won their 2nd title in 2014. Winning two titles in just 3 years KKR established a fan base of a total of 22 Million people combined on all the platforms.
KKR’s core strength lies in versatility and acceptance towards change. KKR identifies talent rightly and engraves that into their team. KKR is one of the teams that have loyalty as one of their core characteristics. They do not fear to experiment but always have a place to support and value their players. KKR understands well that all their success can be attributed to their players.
The current KKR is not much different from the core as we can see even in the 2021 IPL edition. With clouds of uncertainty over the team throughout the league, the Kolkata fearless Riders eventually turned on super mode and managed to qualify for play-offs just at the edge. The fearless riders managed 4th position by going all in and looking back at all. Rather than being disheartened and losing motivation from four consecutive defeats the team changed its intent and geared up with only victory in their minds.
It was a roller-coaster ride for KKR as they weren’t able to pick up momentum and didn’t have any winning streak to boost up their confidence. This affected they are on-field performance and clearly created some serious doubts regarding qualifications.
But that’s the thing that makes KKR different from other teams. They never hold back to their past or luck. KKR boldly makes its own luck. Hence, as the result even after winning the same number of matches, they qualified over Mumbai Indians. With a difference of almost five times in run rate, the show casts the boldness of KKR and the ability to play fearlessly.
Some might think that reaching playoffs is an achievement itself after such a disheartening start but KKR has always been a team with ambitions. Even after the odds are not in favour, they always give their 100% and that’s the reason for their success.
While competing with mighty table toppers and having a single shot, KKR decided not to be underdogs but rather winners. Hence, KKR bagged 2nd position in the same IPL in which even its qualification seemed nearly impossible. This shows that it’s still the same ferocious KKR that doesn’t get demotivated by temporary setbacks and always looks forward to performing better and giving its best.
With the top two names in crisis in 2022 everyone has eyes set on the third favourites to see if they can witness a repeat of 2012 or 2014. With the future of Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings being full of haste the KKR seems to be the favourites. Everyone has eyes on the young Shreyas Iyer, “That can the young Turk lead on the legacy well established by the legend, Gautam Gambhir?”
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