Kolkata Knight Riders finished fifth on the points table, and narrowly missed out on a spot in the play-offs. After 14 matches, they finished with 15 points, winning seven matches and losing six. One game ended in no-result owing to rain. Defending champions Kolkata began their defence in right earnest, trampling Mumbai Indians by 7 wickets at Eden Gardens in the tournament opener. They went on to register an impressive win against Kings XI Punjab by four wickets, and against Delhi Daredevils by six wickets. After a lean spell, they smashed Chennai by seven wickets. Their other triumphs came against Hyderabad (by 35 runs), Punjab (by 1 wicket), and Delhi by 13 runs.
Six losses were a bit too many for KKR to find a place in the play-offs. They went down to Bangalore by three wickets in their second match. KKR also tasted defeat against Hyderabad (by 16 runs via D/L method). One of the biggest disappointments was the loss against Chennai by 2 runs at Chepauk, a match they should never have lost. The away defeat against Bangalore by seven wickets was a massive blow for them. They recovered well, but the losses in the last two games, against Mumbai by 5 runs, and Rajasthan by 9 runs put paid to their hopes of progressing.
All-rounder Andre Russell was the team’s standout performer. In 13 matches, he scored 326 runs, batting mostly lower down the order, at a strike rate of 193 with three fifties and an average of 36.2. Russell hit 35 fours and 19 sixes with a highest of 66. With the ball, he picked up 14 wickets at a strike rate of 17.4 and an economy rate of 7.9. He averaged 23.14 with a best of 3 for 32.
Morne Morkel was the other impressive performer, claiming 10 wickets in 7 matches at a strike rate of 16.8, and an economy rate of 7.3. He averaged 20.6 with a best of 2 for 18. Inexplicably, KKR did not pick him during the second half of the event. Piyush Chawla did surprisingly well, claiming 11 wickets in 13 games at a strike rate of 19, and an average of 24. And while the openers, Gautam Gambhir and Robin Uthappa, finished with 300 plus runs, Kolkata needed a lot more out of them.
Manish Pandey has played some incredible knocks in the IPL over the years, but this season he was a massive failure. He managed only 235 runs from 13 games at a strike rate of 22.2, and an average of 20.4. His highest in the event was 40. Pandey hit only 22 fours and 7 sixes in the entire tournament. Shakib Al Hasan was also a failure claiming just four scalps in four matches at a strike rate of 21, and an economy rate touching 9. He had an average of nearly 31, and a best of 2 for 22.
--By A Cricket Analyst