What Went Wrong for KKR This IPL: The Kolkata Knight Riders can be credited for exceeding expectations in the ongoing Indian Premier League. Shreyas Iyer, their regular captain, unfortunately, missed the entire season due to a back injury. As a result, Nitish Rana was appointed as the new captain. He performed admirably with the limited resources at his disposal.

The Kolkata-based team experienced a season filled with ups and downs. It was highlighted by memorable moments such as Rinku Singh’s impressive display of five consecutive sixes. However, they struggled to seize crucial opportunities and ultimately ended the season in the 7th position on the points table.

In this article, we will delve into the factors that contributed to KKR’s shortcomings throughout the tournament.

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What led to KKR’s downfall?

Excessive experimentation in the opening slot

In the realm of T20 cricket, it is crucial to establish a settled opening combination. Unfortunately, this was not the case for the Kolkata Knight Riders. They began the tournament with Mandeep Singh and Rahmanullah Gurbaz as their opening pair, only to later opt for Gurbaz and Venkatesh Iyer. Eventually, when Jason Roy joined the squad, he was paired with Gurbaz at the top.

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This constant tinkering with the opening combination proved detrimental to KKR’s chances as they failed to establish stability in that crucial position. In contrast, successful teams such as the Rajasthan Royals boast the pairing of Yashasvi Jaiswal and Jos Buttler, the Royal Challengers Bangalore rely on Faf du Plessis and Virat Kohli, and the Chennai Super Kings have found success with Devon Conway and Ruturaj Gaikwad. These teams have flourished due to their well-established opening partnerships.

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Underutilization of Lockie Ferguson

KKR possessed one of the most formidable fast bowlers in their lineup – Lockie Ferguson. However, the team management failed to fully utilize his skills as an exceptional paceman. At the beginning of the tournament, the Kiwi speedster was nursing a minor injury, resulting in him participating in only three matches throughout the competition. During this limited playing time, he managed to secure just one wicket, eventually being dropped from the playing XI. Both coach Chandrakant Pandit and captain Nitish Rana should have made better use of Ferguson’s talents, particularly given their lack of a high-quality pacer.

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A disappointing performance by the West Indian duo

Over the past few years, the backbone of KKR has been their West Indian duo consisting of Sunil Narine and Andre Russell. Expectations were high for Russell following his underwhelming performance in the 2022 IPL season. However, the West Indies all-rounder failed to live up to the hype, accumulating a mere 227 runs in 14 matches at an average of just 20.64.

Similarly, Narine had a relatively average season with the ball. He was overshadowed by newcomers Suyash Sharma and Varun Chakravarthy in the spin department. Narine managed to claim only 11 wickets in 14 matches, although he maintained a decent economy rate of 7.98.