Kolkata’s Performance in Indian T20 League
Expected Playing XI
Venkatesh Iyer, Rahmanullah Gurbaz , Nitish Rana (c), N Jagadeesan (wk), Andre Russell, Rinku Singh, Shardul Thakur, Sunil Narine, Varun Chakravarthy, Lockie Ferguson, Umesh Yadav
Key players to watch out for
Andre Russell – The muscular Caribbean is well capable of changing the match with both bat and ball. He had a good tournament in the UAE with the bat and would look to continue that form.
Rahmanullah Gurbaaz – The Afghanistan opener didn’t get any chance for Gujarat last season but Kolkata would be foolish to waste his talent. The batter has all the shots in his armory and plays a fearless brand of cricket that Kolkata would definitely need at the top of the order.
Lockie Ferguson – Last year, Kolkata lacked support for Umesh Yadav in the pace department as Patrick Cummins’ failed to deliver. Ferguson along with Yadav will be more than handy and can be a threat for the opposition batting lineup even before the spinners come on to bowl.
Kolkata’s Schedule for Indian T20 League 2023
Squad Analysis of Kolkata
Kolkata showed a lot of faith in young Venkatesh Iyer and the experienced duo of Andre Russell and Sunil Narine ahead of the mega-auctions of the last year. The returns from the three were less than flattering. However, the team hasn’t done much of chopping and changing and still seems to rely on these names. The seventh-place finish in 2022 led to the exit of Brendon McCullum and the management roped in domestic stalwart Chandrakant Pandit to coach the side. The team’s strategy in the auction that followed the 2022 season didn’t find a lot of praise as they added in-form N Jagadeesan and Shakib-al-Hasan among others. They also traded Lockie Ferguson who played for Gujarat last year and Shardul Thakur from Delhi. However, just a month before the season’s commencement, the news of Shreyas Iyer being unfit for the tournament has definitely thrown the team’s plans out of the window.
Strengths – Kolkata, like Chennai, have always relied on their spin department and with the IPL coming back to Eden Gardens, they would also hope for a change in fortunes with the low and slow conditions suiting the team’s spinners. Spinners like Chakravarthy and Narine along with Shakib are way more than capable to strangle the opposition on those pitches. Lockie Ferguson’s return to Kolkata colors would make the fans happy as the pacer delivered for the team every time he got a chance in the past.
Weaknesses – Even last year, Kolkata’s batting just never showed up and Shreyas Iyer looked the sole bright light with the bat. Wish Iyer out of the equation this year, a lot of pressure will be on Nitish Rana. Venkatesh Iyer would need to sort out his weaknesses after being found out by the opponents last year. Moreover, the team’s over reliance on Andre Russell for quick runs and Sunil Narine for crucial breakthroughs might backfire as the two top performers are possibly past their best in 2023.
Kolkata Team in Indian T20 League 2023
Kolkata turned up with the most star-studded lineup when the first edition of the IPL began and gave the tournament an emphatic start with Brendon McCullum’s 158* in the opening encounter. Since that, the team didn’t see too many bright moments in the season and the following season was an even bigger disaster. Another failure to make it to the playoffs meant that heads were to roll and that’s exactly what happened, paving the way for a new look team turn up for the city from 2011. The team would go on to lift the trophy twice in three years, winning it in 2012 and 2014. This made them a fearsome prospect and one of the teams that always began as contenders when the Indian T20 league began in the following years. However, a number of below average seasons followed under captain Dinesh Karthik, leading to Eoin Morgan being given the charge of the side.
Morgan’s bat didn’t produce too many runs but the World Cup winning skipper orchestrated a remarkable turnaround in the team’s fortunes where they climbed up from number 7 in the points table to make it to the final of the tournament. Although the team finished as the runners-up, it was still able to salvage some pride. The mega-auction in the following year necessitated a revamp of the side and Kolkata appointed a new skipper in Shreyas Iyer. The team, however, hardly looked in contention throughout the season and finished with only six wins, three out of which came in their last five fixtures.
Kolkata’s stats in Indian T20 League
- While their last trophy came in 2014, Kolkata remains the only team apart from Mumbai and Chennai to have multiple Indian T20 League trophies.
- The team made it to the finals of the league on three occasions – 2012, 2014 and 2021. While they managed to win it on the first two occasions, they lost to Chennai in 2021, the same team they had defeated in 2012 to win their first trophy.
- The first centurion of the tournament was a Kolkata player as Brendon McCullum struck 158* in the team’s first ever encounter in the league against Bangalore. Surprisingly, in the 14 seasons after that, no Kolkata player has ever struck another century.
- Sunil Narine and Andre Russell have emerged as the most valuable player of the tournament twice, a feat that no other player has achieved in the tournament’s history. Sunil Narine emerged as the tournament’s MVP in 2012 and 2018 and Andre Russell got the honours in 2015 and 2019.
- Andre Russell hit a record 51 sixes in the 2019 season of Indian T20 League. In the league’s history, that’s only second best to Chris Gayle’s 59 sixes for Bangalore in 2012 season.
- Kolkata also holds the record of skittling out the opposition for the lowest total in the league’s history. They bundled Bangalore out for a mere 49 in the 2017 season.