Indian Premier League - Kolkata Knight Riders
The Kolkata Knight Riders (Bengali: কলকাতা নাইট রাইডার্স; often abbreviated as KKR) are a cricket franchise representing Kolkata in the Indian Premier League. The franchise is owned by Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan’s company Red Chillies Entertainment in partnership with actress Juhi Chawla and her husband Jay Mehta from the Mehta Group. The team is currently captained by Gautam Gambhir and coached by Trevor Bayliss, a former Australian cricketer. The home of the Knight Riders is Eden Gardens, the largest cricket stadium in India and the third largest in the world by seating capacity.

The leading run-scorer of the side is Gautam Gambhir,while the leading wicket-taker is Sunil Narine.The official theme of the team is Korbo, Lorbo, Jeetbo Re (We will do, we will fight, we will win) and the official colors are purple and gold. The brand value of the Kolkata Knight Riders was estimated at $57.5 million in 2011, ranking third amongst all ten IPL teams.

Franchise history

In 2008, The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) created the cricket tournament Indian Premier League based on the Twenty20 form of the game.Eight teams would participate in the inaugural tournament held in April – June of the same year. The teams representing the eight different cities of India were put up on auction in Mumbai on 20 February. The team representing Kolkata was eventually bought by Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan’s company Red Chillies Entertainment in partnership with actress Juhi Chawla and her husband Jay Mehta for a price of 3 billion, around $75 million at that time.Sourav Ganguly, the former captain of the Indian national team, a native of West Bengal (nicknamed as Bengal Tiger, Dada or Prince of Kolkata) was named the Icon Player for the team.

Home ground

The home venue of the Knight Riders is the iconic Eden Gardens (with the two ends of the crease called the High Court End and the Pavilion End). Owned by the Cricket Association of Bengal, it is the largest cricket stadium in India with a seating capacity of more than 70,000. In 2011, the stadium was renovated to meet the standards set by the ICC for the 2011 Cricket World Cup. The renovated stadium includes a new clubhouse and players’ facilities, upgrading the exterior wall, cladding the existing roof structure with a new metal skin, and general infrastructure improvements. In 2013, two of the team’s home matches were hosted by the JSCA International Cricket Stadium in Ranchi.

Sponsors and partners

Finnish multinational communications corporation – Nokia is the official founding sponsor of the Kolkata Knight Riders, while Reebok was their official apparel sponsor. In 2012, Kolkata Knight Riders had 18 sponsors, the highest among all teams. Star Plus, Kit Kat, Dish TV and Linc Pens have been some of their principal sponsors over the years. Former sponsors and official partners include Coca Cola, Gitanjali Group, Rose Valley, SB Nation, Doublemint and Amity University.

As of 2014, other than Nokia, they have sponsorship deals with Royal Stag, Sansui Electric, U.S. Polo Assn., The Telegraph, Fever 104 FM, Amazon.com, Seiko and SAP AG among several others.

Team history

2008 IPL season

The Kolkata Knight Riders made a good start the season by winning their first two matches against Royal Challengers Bangalore and Deccan Chargers. Kolkata Knight Riders’ opening batsman Brendon McCullum scored 158 runs in the first match. However, the team began to experience failures and lost the next four matches. The team managed to stage a comeback of sorts by winning the next three matches, helped by strong performances by Sourav Ganguly and Shoaib Akhtar. But their performance dipped again and they lost the next three matches. These included their match against Mumbai Indians, in which they were bowled out for 67 runs, the lowest score by a team in the IPL 2008 season. When their match against Delhi Daredevils was washed out due to rain, they lost any chance of making it to the semi finals. The Knight Riders ended their season on a winning note by defeating Kings XI Punjab on their home ground.

Financially, the Kolkata Knight Riders were easily the most successful franchise in the IPL, achieving a profit of 130 million (US$2.1 million) in the opening season itself.

2009 IPL season

The season was by far the worst in the history of the franchise. Kolkata Knight Riders finished at the bottom of the ranking table with three wins and ten losses including a string of nine successive defeats. KKR was among the least active franchises during the offseason, with no player trades. However, the team signed Mohnish Parmar during the offseason and also re-signed Ajantha Mendis to a long term deal.

2010 IPL season

The Kolkata Knight Riders traded Australian all-rounder Moises Henriques for Manoj Tiwary and Owais Shah. At the Player auctions they managed to successfully buy Shane Bond in the silent tie-breaker against competing bids from Deccan Chargers for $1.3 million. Ganguly was once again given the captaincy of KKR, after the team ended at the bottom in the second season. The coach John Buchanan was replaced by Dav Whatmore.

Despite being tied at 14-point with The Super Kings, Delhi Daredevils and Royal Challengers Bangalore, a lesser NRR meant they eventually finished sixth on the point table.

2011 IPL season

In this edition of the IPL, the Kolkata Knight Riders decided to revamp the team, starting with a new look and by changing the entire set of players. the previous year’s captain was dropped in the IPL auction held earlier that year. Gautam Gambhir, who was bought for a record-breaking $2.4 million was appointed as skipper. KKR also managed to buy Yusuf Pathan for $2.1 million. Other international names were added to the sq­, including allrounder Shakib Al Hasan from Bangladesh, Jacques Kallis, Brett Lee and Ryan ten Doeschate. Brad Haddin was replaced by Mark Boucher in mid-season due to a finger injury he sustained during practice.

2012 IPL season

Due to the disbanding of Kochi Tuskers Kerala, each team played the remaining eight teams twice, once at home and once away. Therefore each team played 16 matches. 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. The team replaced coach Dav Whatmore by Trevor Bayliss. Kolkata Knight Riders also launched a new marketing campaign titled “New Dawn. New Knights” and a new logo. The 2012 IPL was the most successful season for the franchise, winning the IPL trophy for the first time in IPL history. KKR got off to a poor start in the tournament, losing their first two games against Delhi Daredevils and Rajasthan Royals.

2013 IPL season

KKR had a disappointing IPL season in 2013, where they were seventh in position after losing 10 times and winning only six times. Although their performance was disappointing, a few players performed really well, like Sunil Narine who took 22 wickets in 16 matches and Gautam Gambhir who made some good runs. But due to lack of rhythm and perfect combination of players, and bad form of a few players, the KKR could not win few easy matches and ended up at seventh.

2014 IPL season

Knight Riders retained only their captain Gambhir and spinner Sunil Narine as they went into the 2014 IPL auctions. They bought back Jacques Kallis, Yusuf Pathan, Shakib Al Hasan, Manvinder Bisla and Ryan Ten Doeschate. New additions to the side were Robin Uthappa, Manish Pandey, Morne Morkel, Umesh Yadav, Piyush Chawla, Vinay Kumar along with some other uncapped and foreign players. KKR had a mediocre start to the seventh edition in UAE; they won 2 out of 5 games played there but lost two more matches after they were back in India, making it five losses in seven games. The team changed their batting order, promoting Robin Uthappa as an opener which worked well as he became the highest runscorer in the tournament with 660 runs. Sunil Narine continued his great run, being the second highest wicket taker. Knight Riders recovered from the losing streak, winning each of their next 7 games. After the group stage, they were tied at 18 points with Chennai Super Kings but beat them to the second place in points table. They played the first Qualifier at their homeground Eden Gardens against Kings XI Punjab which they won by 28 runs and entered the final. In the final at Bengaluru, they met Kings XI again and defeated them by 3 wickets in a thrilling chase, to win their second title in 3 years. The victory was celebrated grandly in a similar fashion to their 2012 Indian Premier League title win.