IPL 2023

IPL 2023 Season Review: Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR)

Saurabh AnandSaurabh Anand

May 28 2023
Kolkata Knight Riders

Kolkata Knight Riders with 6 wins in 14 matches, finished IPL 2023 with 12 points at 7th position.

Two times Indian Premier League champions had struggled to find the right balance in their injured squad this season. Kolkata Knight Riders‘ full-time captain Shreyas Iyer was not available for the entire season thus they went to the tournament with an inexperienced Nitish Rana to do the job. Nitish with the kind of squad Kolkata had this season, did a decent job as captain. Yet, they failed to qualify for the playoffs. Kolkata had a few great wins this season along with a few great performances in the field but their inconsistency made them suffer. One positive they got from the IPL 2023 is Rinku Singh. The left-hand batter has already earned the superstar tag from Kolkata fans after his consistency and superb finishes in a few games.

Kolkata Knight Riders have finished 7th in the points table. Along with captain Shreyas Iyer, pace bowlers Tim Southee and Lockie Ferguson were either sitting out or injured this season. With limited pace bowling options, Kolkata did try to go with new and upcoming faces in the pace bowling. Their experienced Indian pacer Umesh Yadav played only 8 games and was injured after that. KKR had a struggling batting order as well. No one apart from Rinku Singh was consistent enough to win games for KKR. Shakib al Hasan and Litton Das also skipped the tournament citing personal reasons and national duty. This has been a learning season for Kolkata Knight Riders. They might look more aggressive in the next auction and build their strategies accordingly.

Fact Sheet:

Kolkata Knight Riders IPL 2023 Fact Sheet
Kolkata Knight Riders IPL 2023 Fact Sheet

Kolkata Knight Riders have finished 7th in the points table. They are placed above Delhi Capitals, Sunrisers Hyderabad, and Punjab Kings. KKR in their 14 league games won 6 and ended up losing 8. Few of them were close encounters, that could have gone either way or else KKR might be in a different position. Their NRR remained negative and ended at -0.239.

Top Performers

Leading Run Scorer – Rinku Singh:

Kolkata Knight Riders' top run-scorer - Rinku Singh
Kolkata Knight Riders’ top run-scorer – Rinku Singh

Every word will count less in explaining how good and impactful Rinku Singh was in the IPL 2023. The results of KKR’s hard work on him can be seen in Rinku’s confidence as a finisher. Batting at 5, Rinku Singh is also the KKR’s leading run scorer this season. Rinku has played all 14 games for KKR and he got the opportunity to bat in all 14 innings. Rinku smashed 474 runs this season at an outstanding average of 59.25 and batted with a magnificent strike rate of 149.52, he also smashed 29 sixes this season. Including 5 against Gujarat Titans in the last over, when he was chasing 29 runs in 6 balls.

Leading wicket-taker – Varun Chakravarthy:

Kolkata’s mystery spinner Varun Chakravarthy had a great season with the ball. He finished the IPL 2023 with 20 wickets in 14 games. Varun bowled a few great spells and troubled every opposition batter. His economy rate is also brilliant this season. In a total of 52.4 overs, he conceded 429 runs with an 8.14 economy rate in the entire IPL 2023. His best figures came against Royal Challengers Bangalore at Eden Gardens to help KKR beat them by a huge margin of 81 runs. He bowled a magical spell of 4/15 in that game.

The Underperformer of the Season:

Andre Russell:

All-rounder Andre Russell is known for his power-hitting ability yet he failed to showcase it in the IPL 2023. Kolkata management got a huge trust in Andre Russell’s ability as an all-rounder, especially in batting. But Russell had a poor season and he could not support Rinku in the lower middle order apart from one or two games. Russell scored only 227 runs in 14 innings for KKR and his contribution came useful in just one game against Punjab Kings. Russell could only hit 18 sixes in 14 innings. He was below average in bowling as well. Russell in 9 innings picked up 7 wickets and his economy rate was 11.34 in the IPL 2023.

Shardul Thakur:

Shardul Thakur had a great start in the first two games but in mid-season, he struggled to make an impact with the ball. Shardul had a few cameos but was completely out of rhythm with the ball in hand. He also got injured in between the seasons. He bowled with an economy rate above 10 this season. Thakur’s economy was 10.47 in the 11 games he played. He could only pick up 7 wickets in the entire season. He scored 113 runs in 10 innings with the bat.

Special mentions

Kolkata Knight Riders needed a stable opening pair. They tried multiple options in that role but no combination could fit in better than the last option they tried against Lucknow at Eden Garden in their last league game. Jason Roy came as a rescuer for KKR but he needed one support at the other end in the top order. Venkatesh Iyer combined better with him. Roy had an outstanding season for KKR. He played only 8 games and smashed 285 runs at an average of 35.62 and a strike rate of 151.59 in the IPL 2023.

Top team performance

If anyone will talk about the best game of this season, they will pick Rinku Singh’s chase against Gujarat Titans at Narendra Modi Cricket Stadium in Ahmedabad. Rinku smashed 5 consecutive sixes to Yash Dayal and chased down 29 runs in the last over to give KKR a win over defending champions. Titans gave 205 runs target to KKR, they did outstandingly well to get to the target. Along with Rinku (48 in 18), Venkatesh Iyer (84 in 40) also batted brilliantly.

Captain’s report card

NItish Rana
NItish Rana. (Image Source: IPL)

In Shreyas Iyer’s absence, KKR appointed Nitish Rana as captain for the IPL 2023. Nitish did a decent job as a Kolkata Knight Riders captain. KKR were not fully fit, not fully ready, and could not find their balance in the eleven yet they managed to challenge top teams coming in with their full strength. KKR won against defending champions Gujarat Titans and Royal Challengers Bangalore twice this season. Nitish also did a great job with the bat. In 14 games he went on to score 413 runs with 3 fifty-plus scores.

Lessons to be learned

Kolkata Knight Riders will look to correct their auction mistakes in the upcoming IPL auction. KKR failed to get the rewards of investing in their senior players like Sunil Narine, and Andre Russell. They also tried a little too much on their batting order. Venkatesh Iyer started the season in the middle order and completed the IPL 2023 as an opener. KKR will look to correct their mistakes in the playing eleven and strike the right balance by picking a few extra batters and pacers in the next auction. They need someone else to support Rinku Singh.

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