Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) is one of the only three teams in the history of the IPL which have won the title two or more than two times. The men in purple and gold lifted the IPL trophy twice in 2012 and 2014 respectively and on both the occasions, they achieved the feat under the captaincy of the former Indian opener Gautam Gambhir.
KKR had actually not even reached the playoffs of the IPL before Gambhir took over the captaincy in 2011. While the southpaw took a year or so to get himself settled as a captain, he delivered outstanding results after that and turned KKR from an underperforming team to one of the most dominating forces in the IPL.
Let’s talk about the two seasons where KKR became IPL champions –
A total of 10 teams participated in IPL 2012 and all the teams had to play 16 games at the group stage. KKR won 10 out of those games and finished at the second position in the points table, with Delhi Daredevils occupying the top spot.
KKR then got two cracks in the playoffs to make it to the final, but they didn’t need the second crack as they beat Delhi Daredevils in the first qualifier itself to qualify to the final where they met the two time champions Chennai Super Kings (CSK).
The final turned out to be a humdinger of a game which went in the favor of two teams from time to time like a roller-coaster ride, but eventually KKR sealed it with a wonderful 89 from the wicket-keeper batsman Manvinder Bisla.
However, throughout that tournament, the captain Gautam Gambhir himself led from the front and ended up as the second highest run-scorer in the tournament with a total of 590 runs in 17 games at an average of 36.87.
Sunil Narine was the highest wicket-taker for KKR in that season with 24 scalps in 15 games.
The journey of KKR in IPL 2014 was more or less the same as 2012. They dominated at group stage, finished at no. 2 in the table, won the first qualifier to advance to the final and then won the final chasing the target with one top order player stepping up to the plate and doing the job for the team when it mattered.
However, the personnel were different this time around. While the man who made the match winning difference in the final was Manish Pandey, the highest run-scorer in the tournament was Robin Uthappa who won the orange cap with a total of 660 runs in 16 games at an average of 44.00.
KKR was up against Kings XI Punjab in the final of IPL 2014 and although Punjab posted a huge score on the board, KKR chased it down courtesy Manish Pandey’s 94.
As far as the wickets’ tally is concerned, Sunil Narine was at the top of the pile again for KKR as he grabbed a total of 21 wickets in 16 games. However, the purple cap went to CSK’s Mohit Sharma who got 23 wickets in 16 games at an average of 19.65.