Bangalore, May 28: Kolkata Knight Riders dethroned Chennai Super Kings, to emerged as new IPL champions in the fifth edition of the cash-rich league. The Shahrukh Khan-owned side had failed to reach the top three in the previous editions and finally emerged victorious this season under the able leadership of Gautam Gambhir.
After finishing second in the points table, with 10 wins off 16 outings, qualified for the first qualifier against table toppers Delhi Daredevils on May 22, Tuesday. Kolkata registered a comprehensive 18 run victory after restricting Virender Sehwag's XI to 144/8 in 20 overs.
Gambhir's captaincy made the difference as all the players contributed to the team's success which helped the team lift their first ever IPL trophy on May 27.
Kolkata made a forgettable opening as they lost to Delhi Daredevils by 8 wickets on April 5 and lost to Rajasthan Royals in their second match after failing to chase 165.
Gambhir's XI gained momentum from the third match as they registered two wins against Royal Challengers Bangalore (by 42 runs at Bangalore on Apr 10), Rajasthan Royals (by 5 wickets at Kolkata on Apr 13) respectively. This was followed by a loss (against Kings XI Punjab at Kolkata on Apr 15) and a series of wins which helped the team qualify for the play-offs for the second time.
A balanced unit coupled with Gambhir's captaincy and suggestions from the team management, Kolkata Knight Riders registered their first ever IPL title.
This edition saw Kolkata Knight Riders adapt a clinical approach as their bowling was KKR's major strength. With a good pace attack coupled with Narine's spin bowling KKR were unstoppable.
The mystery spinner Sunil Narine, was the most impressive player (with 24 wickets)as he produced many outstanding spells including a 5/19 (against Kings XI Punjab) which helped KKR reach the final of the prestigious T20 league.
Jacques Kallis' all-round performance was the key to team's success as he scored 409 runs and 15 wickets off 17 outings with impressive 2/7 in one of the matches.
Shakib Al Hasan was also impressive as he picked 12 wickets off just 8 matches with 3/17 being the best.
Gautam Gambhir was the top scorer for KKR with 590 runs off 17 matches at an average of 36.87 with a highest score of 93. He was one player the team could rely on as he performed throughout except the finals.
Brendon McCullum was the third highest run scorer for KKR with 289 runs off 12 matches with a highest score of 56.
Manvinder Bisla, though he doesn't feature among the top three, his contribution in the final was huge as the team chased a challenging target of 191 only because of his 48-ball 89. He has added 213 runs off 7 matches this season with a highest score of 89 in the final.
Kolkata Knight Riders, worthy of the title, have put in a lot of hard work in order to reach here. The team truly deserves the title as Gambhir often puts it, A successful team makes him a successful captain. Kudos to the team for achieving this feat.