What Went Wrong For KKR in IPL 2023?
KKR finished at the 7th position [AP Photos]
It is fair to say that the Kolkata Knight Riders punched above their weight in the ongoing Indian Premier League. KKR's regular skipper, Shreyas Iyer missed the entire season due to a back injury, and Nitish Rana was appointed the new captain, who did well with the resources he had.
The team from Kolkata had a topsy-turvy season, and had some great moments, including the five sixes from Rinku Singh. However, they failed to capitalise on key moments, and finished at 7th position in the points table.
In this article, we'll dissect what went wrong for the KKR side throughout the tournament.
What went wrong for KKR?
1) Over experimentation at the opening slot
In T20 cricket, you need to have a settled combination at the top, but that wasn't the case with the Kolkata Knight Riders. They started the tournament with Mandeep Singh and Rahmanullah Gurbaz, then decided to go with Gurbaz and Venkatesh Iyer. Eventually when Jason Roy joined the squad, he was asked to open alongside the Afghan batter, Gurbaz.
This hampered KKR's chances as they never had a settled opening combination and that created a mess for them. You look at all the top teams - Rajasthan have Yashasvi Jaiswal and Jos Buttler, RCB has Faf du Plessis and Virat Kohli, CSK has Devon Conway and Ruturaj Gaikwad. These teams have done well because they have a settled combination in the opening slot.
2) Under-utilization of Lockie Ferguson
KKR had one of the most fearsome fast bowlers in their ranks - Lockie Ferguson, but the team management failed to utilise his skills as a tearaway pacer. The Kiwi speedster had a niggle at the start of the tournament, and only played 3 matches throughout the competition. He only managed to pick up a solitary wicket, and was dropped from the playing XI. Coach Chandrakant Pandit and captain Nitish Rana should have used him more, especially when they lacked a quality pacer.
3) Failure of the West Indian duo
KKR's backbone over the last few years has been their West Indian duo of Sunil Narine and Andre Russell. A lot was expected of Russell after he had a mediocre IPL 2022 season, but the West Indies all-rounder failed to live up the hype and garnered only 227 runs in 14 matches, at an average of just 20.64.
On the other hand, Narine had an average season with the ball. He was outshone by newcomer Suyash Sharma and Varun Chakravarthy in the spin department. Narine bagged just 11 wickets in 14 matches, but had a decent economy of 7.98.