Kolkata Knight Riders’ (KKR) IPL 2018 journey started off with a new look team under the leadership of a new captain. The IPL 2018 auction saw the seven-year association of Gautam Gambhir and KKR come to an end and KKR bought some new faces for their teams. They had retained two of their foreign players in Sunil Narine and Andre Russell.
KKR then used their RTM cards of Robin Uthappa and Piyush Chawla in the auction and prepared a 19 man squad. Their IPL 2018 squad was criticized for being too thin on talent with just 19 players and with no specialist opener in the team. They invested in few U19 Team India talents in Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Shivam Mavi, and Shubman Gill and bought fast bowling power in Mitchell Starc and Mitchell Johnson.
However, Starc and Nagarkoti pulled out of the tournament due to injuries and Tom Curran and M Prasidh Krishna made their way in the team. Amidst much speculation, KKR team management announced Dinesh Karthik as their new captain and Robin Uthappa as his deputy.
KKR’s journey in the IPL 2018 was up and down, wherein the last stage of the tournament, they won three matches in a row to qualify for the playoffs at number three spot and eliminated Rajasthan Royals in the eliminator.
They faced Sunrisers Hyderabad in the second qualifier and despite a close fight, lost the match and their campaign in the IPL 11 ended.
Team COC looks at the performance of the KKR team and presents the player ratings for IPL 2018
(All stats updated till May 26, 2018)
DINESH KARTHIK 9/10
Dinesh Karthik was given a huge responsibility of captaining the two-time IPL champions KKR amidst huge speculations. Karthik had a bit of captaincy experience in IPL but had captained Tamil Nadu a lot and during the tournament, Karthik led from the front.
In 16 matches, he scored 498 runs with the best of 52 and strike rate of 147.77. He was wonderful as the finisher and led the team to various wins from difficult positions. His one big failure came in the second qualifier and it led to the defeat of his team. Still, Dinesh Karthik did better than many other finishers in the tournament and was up with the best of all in MS Dhoni.
SHUBMAN GILL 7/10
Young Shubman Gill was brilliant in the U19 World Cup for Indian team and was bought by KKR in order to bolster their thin batting lineup. Gill was given the task of scoring quick runs in the fag end of the innings and seldom got to bat at the top of the order, his natural batting spot.
In 13 matches, he scored 203 runs with strike rate of 146.04 and average of 33.83. His highest score was 57* and managed to impress one and all with his maturity and ability to control the game as much possible.
CHRIS LYNN 8/10
Chris Lynn scored 491 runs in 16 matches with a best of 74 and a strike rate of 130.23. It was a subdued version of Lynn we saw in the tournament, who let his opening partner Sunil Narine take the lead. It seemed like KKR team management had asked Lynn to bat through the innings and other batsmen batted around him.
ANDRE RUSSELL 9/10
Andre Russell was the one player on whom the KKR batting depended upon the most. They knew no matter whatever runs they needed, if Russell was there, they would win in the end. Russell scored 316 runs at a strike rate of 184.79 and highest score of 88*, which came against CSK in Chennai.
Russell also picked 13 wickets, despite battling a hamstring injury. Russell’s dominance of big hitting was so good, that the decision to retain him, despite him missing a year of cricket due to a ban, seemed the correct one.
NITISH RANA 5/10
Nitish Rana was a brilliant middle-order batsman for MI and KKR bought him to play a similar role for them in IPL 2018 as well. Rana scored 304 runs in 15 matches for them but failed to score much in the later parts of the tournament. He managed to score a solitary fifty but played at a strike rate of 131.03.
ROBIN UTHAPPA 4/10
Robin Uthappa excelled in patches and scored 351 runs in 16 matches. He came into form during the last few matches of the tournament, when KKR needed wins to make it into top four. But his cameos gave the innings impetus as he scored his runs at a strike rate of 132.45.
KULDEEP YADAV 7/10
Kuldeep Yadav took 17 wickets in 16 matches with a best of 4/20 and an economy of 8.14. Kuldeep was brilliant whenever he came to bowl and always looked to take wickets and Karthik gave him fields that helped him dominate the scene.
SUNIL NARINE 10/10
Last year, KKR experimented with Sunil Narine as the opener which came good. However, this year, Narine flourished as a good all-rounder, as he knew how to build his innings and took as much advantage of the power play as possible.
Narine scored 357 runs with strike rate of 189.89 and best of 75. He also picked 17 wickets with a best of 3/18 at an economy of 7.65. He performed both of his roles wonderfully and helped his team reach the playoffs.
JAVON SEARLES 1/10
Javon Searles got a chance to show his skills in the best T20 league in the world and took 2 wickets in 4 games and scored 8 runs.
TOM CURRAN 2/10
England’s T20 specialist Tom Curran was brought in the team to replace Mitchell Starc. He took 6 wickets in 5 matches with a best of 2/19; however, his economy of 11.60 was the hindrance in him playing a bigger role for KKR in the IPL 2018.
RINKU SINGH 1/10
Rinku Singh, the first player from Uttar Pradesh’s Aligarh district, got chances at the start of the league to cement his place but scored just 16 runs in 4 matches.
PIYUSH CHAWLA 6/10
Piyush Chawla is a veteran of the IPL tournament and showed why KKR used their RTM card to retain him. He took 14 wickets in 15 games for the KKR and was decent with his economy, 8.40 and helped Kuldeep and Narine stem the flow of runs.
SHIVAM MAVI 5/10
Shivam Mavi got a lesson of a lifetime with his stint in IPL 2018 with KKR. He picked 5 wickets in 9 matches and though he went for lots of runs and had an economy of 9.64, Mavi would have learned a lot about fast bowling from the likes of Mitchell Johnson, Jacques Kallis and other fellow fast bowlers in the KKR unit.
MITCHELL JOHNSON 0.5/10
Mitchell Johnson was bought by the KKR team in hopes to have a backup for Mitchell Starc and they were proved right, as Starc missed IPL 2018 with an injury. However, Johnson looked a pale shadow of his former self and with no cricket apart from BBL; the rustiness was on display in full form, as he played 6 matches and picked just 2 wickets at an economy of 10.28.
R VINAY KUMAR 0/10
R Vinay Kumar returned to the KKR franchise during the auctions and played 2 matches to pick 2 wickets. However, he was more criticized for being unable to defend against a roaring CSK team, as KKR lost a close match to Chennai, in Chennai, during the early rounds of the tournament.
M PRASIDH KRISHNA 7/10
M Prasidh Krishna got a surprise call-up by the KKR management to replace Nagarkoti and impressed one and all with his pace and bounce. He picked 10 wickets in 7 matches at an economy of 9.28.