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IPL 2019 | Season Review: Kolkata Exceptional When Good, Abysmal When Bad

Time and again Kolkata's over-reliance on Andre Russell cost them big this season. Robin Uthappa and Kuldeep Yadav's poor form did not help matters either.

Arjit Dabas |Cricketnext |May 7, 2019, 8:53 AM IST
IPL 2019 | Season Review: Kolkata Exceptional When Good, Abysmal When Bad

Position in Table: 5

Played 14 Won 6 Lost 8

What Worked

Andre Russell's superhuman abilities; Lynn & Gill at the top

The big-hitting all-rounder was in exemplary form in this year's IPL and KKR will be really disappointed that they couldn't even reach the playoffs despite some surreal hitting. Russell got his team over the line from unreal circumstances. This included a 13-ball unbeaten 48 which helped his side chase down 206 against RCB. He also smashed an unbeaten 80 and picked 2/25 against Mumbai Indians in a must-win encounter at Eden Gardens. However, he went for a first-ball duck in the final game and KKR struggled to get anywhere near par score, which showed the team's dependency on him.

KKR also seemed to have found the right opening pair in Chris Lynn and Shubhman Gill which should serve the team for a considerable time to come. Gill was being wasted down the order and showed his class by opening the innings. Lynn too finally came to the party in the latter half of the tournament.

What Didn't Work

Ordinary batting in middle-order, Karthik's captaincy and lack of wicket-takers

Robin Uthappa, Nitish Rana and Dinesh Karthik struggled to make any substantial contribution throughout the tournament. Uthappa had an abysmal tournament and looked completely out of depth. He was dropped and brought back into the squad but that didn't work as well. Karthik's lack of runs also affected his captaincy and they were many questionable decisions, especially in the batting order in crunch games.

KKR's bowling attack looked toothless as they struggled to pick wickets. Spin-heavy attack on a flat Gardens ground didn't exactly help their cause but it is something they might want to address in the auction. Kuldeep Yadav had a poor IPL and had to be dropped from the team. Sunil Narine might have been economical but failure to pick wickets hurt KKR. There isn't much to talk about in the pace attack, except Sandeep Warrier who showed some promise in the few chances he was given.

Best Performers

Andre Russell. (PTI)

Batsman

Andre Russell | Runs 510 | Matches 14 | Average 56.66 | S/R 204.81 | Fifties 4

Russell was the wrecker-in-chief as far as KKR were concerned. They depended heavily on him but he wasn't used as well as he could have been. Despite the middle-order not in form, Russell constantly batted below the likes of Uthappa and Karthik. The only game he came at number 3, he smashed an unbeaten 80 and took his side home. He also had the highest sixes (52) as well as highest strike rate in the tournament

Bowler

Andre Russell |Wickets 11 | Matches 14 | Economy 9.36

Not only was he the best batsman, but he was also the best bowler for his team picking the maximum number of wickets. This shows just how poor rest of the KKR bowlers were. It is something the team management will have to sort out before going into the auction next season!

Disappointments

Kuldeep Yadav and Robin Uthappa

These two players have been the star performers for KKR and are part of the core group of the team. Kuldeep picked just 4 wickets in nine matches at an average of 71.5 and economy of 8.66. The youngster was left in tears in his final game and was ultimately dropped from the team.

Uthappa scored just 282 runs in 12 matches which included an unbeaten 67. His strike rate was just 115.10 which is just not acceptable from a player of his caliber. He looked completely out of sorts against quality bowlers and in the final group stage encounter, he scored 40 off 47 balls.

Promises

Shubman GIll KKR

Gill showed excellent promise once he was promoted to the top of the order. He scored a 76 against Mumbai and then followed it with an unbeaten 65 in Mohali. KKR should persist with him as an opener in the next season and look to build the team around him for the coming years.

Areas to Improve Next Season

"Not our best season, there are a lot of areas for us to improve on, and I'm sure we will come back stronger next year," said Karthik in the post-match presentation after the final match.

KKR will need a good auction to ensure they have a solid team for next year. A reliable middle-order player and a quality fast-bowler is something the team needs. Return of Shivam Mavi and hopefully Kamlesh Nagarkoti will help but even they aren't experienced enough. Doubts have been raised over Karthik's captaincy but there aren't many leaders who stand out in the team.

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1 India 4027 115
2 New Zealand 2829 109
3 South Africa 2917 108
4 England 4366 104
5 Australia 3270 99
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1 England 6745 125
2 India 7071 122
3 New Zealand 4837 112
4 Australia 5543 111
5 South Africa 5193 110
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Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 7748 277
2 England 4253 266
3 South Africa 4720 262
4 India 8620 261
5 Australia 5471 261
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