Kolkata Knight Riders would perhaps be the most disappointed team at the end of Indian Premier League 2020. They finished the league stage in fifth position, tied on 14 points with Royal Challengers Bangalore and Sunrisers Hyderabad, and missed out on a playoff spot due to net run-rate: a deficit of 0.042.
The two-time IPL champions struggled for stability right through the season, with injuries and lack of form for key players hampering their progress.
KKR's results in every IPL season
|Season||League stage finish||Playoff result|
|IPL 2011||4th out of 10||Lost Eliminator|
|IPL 2012||1st out of 9||Champions|
|IPL 2013||7th out of 9||Lost Eliminator|
|IPL 2016||4th||Lost Eliminator|
|IPL 2017||3rd||Lost Qualifier 2|
|IPL 2018||3rd||Lost Qualifier 2|
Dinesh Karthik led KKR in the first seven matches, before handing over the reins to England’s Eoin Morgan. The move could only be termed a mixed bag as KKR lost more matches than they won in the second half of the season.
A huge downside for KKR was the limited contribution from two of their key overseas stars: Sunil Narine and Andre Russell. While Narine did alright with the ball in a couple of close games, he didn’t fire as an opener before being pushed down the order and missed four games after being called for a suspect action. Russell, however, failed to match the lofty standards he had set in IPL 2019.
The Knight Riders didn’t go on a big losing streak like some of the other teams did, but they struggled to string together consecutive victories to gain confidence and momentum.
Despite that, they were in a decent position to make the playoff with the final week of the league stage remaining. But an unexpected six-wicket defeat to Chennai Super Kings in their penultimate game sealed their fate. They would have also sneaked through had Mumbai Indians beaten SRH in the last match of the league stage, but it wasn’t to be, after two nervous nights of watching on other results in hope.
KKR's match results in IPL 2020
|KKR vs MI||Abu Dhabi||KKR lost by 49 runs|
|KKR vs SRH||Abu Dhabi||KKR won by 7 wickets|
|RR vs KKR||Dubai||KKR won by 37 runs|
|DC vs KKR||Sharjah||KKR lost by 18 runs|
|KKR vs CSK||Abu Dhabi||KKR won by 10 runs|
|KXIP vs KKR||Abu Dhabi||KKR won by 2 runs|
|RCB vs KKR||Sharjah||KKR lost by 82 runs|
|MI vs KKR||Abu Dhabi||KKR lost by 8 wickets|
|SRH vs KKR||Abu Dhabi||KKR won Super Over|
|KKR vs RCB||Abu Dhabi||KKR lost by 8 wickets|
|KKR vs DC||Abu Dhabi||KKR won by 59 runs|
|KKR vs KXIP||Sharjah||KKR lost by 8 wickets|
|CSK vs KKR||Dubai||KKR lost by 6 wickets|
|KKR vs RR||Dubai||KKR won by 60 runs|
Young Shubman Gill did show his class and finished as the highest run-scorer for KKR this season, but he will know that he could have finished with a much better average than 33.84 and, more importantly, a strike rate of 117.96.
In the batting department, the other two players who made an impact were Morgan and Nitish Rana. The English left-hander gained prominence as the tournament progressed and was the glue that held Kolkata’s middle order together. Rana made some match-changing contributions but was also dismissed first ball on a couple of occasions.
Here again, the thing that hurt KKR the most was Russell’s form. He, too, missed four games due to injury and could manage just 117 runs in nine innings.
Most runs for KKR in IPL 2020
Undoubtedly, the biggest positive for KKR this season was Varun Chakravarthy. The mystery spinner was a major force right through their campaign and delivered almost each time he was brought into the attack. He was the only bowler to take a five-wicket haul this season and impressed one and all with his skill and accuracy.
Pat Cummins, the most expensive buy in IPL 2020 at a whopping Rs 15.5 crore, didn’t quite justify his price tag. The Australian right-arm pacer contributed with the bat and showed glimpses of his potential with the ball, but KKR would definitely have expected more that 12 wickets from him. He did almost take them to the playoff with a big performance in their final group stage game, but it wasn’t to be.
Former India Under-19 stars Shivam Mavi and Kamlesh Nagarkoti had their moments but didn’t have a big impact overall. Also, it could be argued that New Zealand quick Lockie Ferguson deserved more game-time.
Most wickets for KKR in IPL 2020
Video highlights of all KXIP matches in IPL 2020
Highlights videos courtesy: iplt20.com