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IPL 2024: Key contributors to KKR's dream run this season

IPL 2024: Top contributors to Kolkata Knight Riders's (KKR) success this season. KKR to play SRH in the finals at Chennai. KKR would be aiming for the third title.

IPL 2024: Shreyas Iyer, Gautam Gambhir take KKR to the Finals | Walking Wicket (Images_ ©BCCI_IPLT20)
IPL 2024: Iyer, Gambhir take KKR to the Finals (Images: ©BCCI/IPLT20)

Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) have had a sensational IPL 2024. They not only topped the league table but also became the first side to reach the final. They will now meet SunRisers Hyderabad (SRH) in the summit clash at Chennai on May 26.

KKR, led by Shreyas Iyer, are having an unforgettable run, winning 10 of their 15 games thus far in the tournament. They’re now on the cusp of winning their third IPL title. It is to be noted that the Knight Riders last won IPL back in 2014 and have a golden opportunity to repeat the same a decade later.

The nature of the T20 game is unpredictable but KKR managed to stay consistent throughout the campaign. This implies how effectively they played as a team and how all the players contributed to their cause over the last two months.

So, we will list down the factors that have gone right for the Knight Riders ahead of their all-important final against SRH.

Shreyas Iyer and his captaincy 

One of the major reasons for the success of KKR in this tournament must be the leadership of Shreyas Iyer. Coming into the IPL, Shreyas was under all sorts of pressure with regards to his own form and ouster from the India team. But he shrugged off all that and led the two-time champions brilliantly.

Shreyas has proved to be an astute leader and a great thinker of the game. This is not the first time that a side he led has reached the IPL final (Delhi Capitals made it to IPL 2020 final when the KKR batter was at the helm).  The 29-year-old has made 345 with the bat and has shown signs of getting back to his best in the last few games. This augurs well for the Knight Riders.

Speaking about leadership, we can’t miss the impact created by Gautam Gambhir (GG), KKR’s mentor. He has given the team a spark and continued the exceptional work of mentoring a team (Lucknow reached playoffs twice when GG was their mentor).

Andre Russell, Sunil Narine left out of West Indies squad for ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2022 _ Walking Wicket (Photo_ ©BCCI_IPL)
Narine & Russell have been heavy contributor this season (Photo: ©BCCI/IPL)
Andre Russell and Sunil Narine

It shouldn’t be a surprise that Sunil Narine has taken 16 wickets in the tournament thus far, but the all-rounder is having one hell of a ride with the bat. Narine is having the time of his life as a batter, having scored 492 runs with an astounding strike rate of 179.85 in 14 innings. The starts he gave at the top of the order were instrumental in many of KKR’s crushing wins. Special credit needs to be given to Gambhir on making Narine the opener this season. 

KKR’s management has given clarity on what they expect from the duo of Nairne & Andre Russell, and it has paid off big time. The left-hander, Russell, didn’t have the best of seasons in 2023, but the batting powerhouse has turned things around.

Working predominantly as a death bowler, Russell has picked 16 wickets this season alongside scoring 222 runs at a whopping SR of 185. Both have been fantastic contributors for KKR and are continuing to produce match-winning performances after a decade of association. 

Varun Chakravarthy and Venkatesh Iyer

Varun Chakravarthy, the mystery spinner of KKR didn’t have the best of starts to his campaign going for 55 in the opening game. He could cumulatively pick just four wickets in as many games thereafter. But as the pitch aided the bowlers more as the tournament went on, Varun became highly effective in the middle-overs for KKR. In the next nine completed games, he picked 15 wickets to be their highest wicket-taker of the season. This helped the Knight Riders in most of their wins in the season.

KKR’s successful campaign can be attributed to the lightning quick starts provided by their openers, Phil Salt and Sunil Narine. The other player who went about his business silently was Venkatesh Iyer. The left-hander, playing in the middle-order, was vital, amassing 318 runs with a great strike rate of over 153.  Some of his knocks, like the 30-ball 50 in a chase against the Royal Challengers Bengaluru (RCB) and a fighting 70 coming in a low-scoring game versus Mumbai Indians (MI) at Wankhede proved to be match-winning. 

IPL 2024_ Youngster Harshit Rana has taken 14 wickets from 8 games so far for KKR _ Walking Wicket (Images_ ©BCCI_IPLT20)
Harshit Rana has 17 wickets from 12 games this season (Images: ©BCCI/IPLT20)
India’s uncapped youngsters’ step-up

KKR is one of those franchises that have historically given preference to a lot of young talent and they, in turn, have flourished. This season as well, KKR’s young stars like Angkrish Raghuvanshi, Harshit Rana and Vaibhav Arora have made a mark.

Angkrish in his maiden season, played without any fear as his 163 runs came at a strike rate of 155.24 in 10 outings. Though the 18-year-old may be short of runs, the way he went about his game speaks volumes about his talent.

Harshit Rana helped KKR overcome their major bowling issue from last season and that is having someone effective at the death. The pacer proved to be a handful both in the powerplays as well as at the death, picking 17 wickets. The same praise can be given to Arora who has consistently given great starts to KKR with the ball. He has taken 10 wickets in nine games for his side this season.


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