IPL 2024: A Deep Dive Into KKR’s Dominant Run To The Title

The Kolkata Knight Riders ended their 10-year championship drought in style in IPL 2024, going on one of the more dominant title runs in the history of the competition. After topping the standings in the league stage with nine wins from 12 games (2 washed out), KKR comfortably dispatched the Sunrisers Hyderabad, first in Qualifier 1 and then in the grand finale. Just what made this iteration of the Knight Riders so good, though? Let’s find out.

For starters, KKR managed to dominate with the bat in all three phases of the game. In the powerplay, not only were they smashing the ball out of the park, but they did so while also not losing a ton of wickets. Only three teams scored at a rate of over 10 in the powerplay over the course of the season and KKR lost the fewest wickets of the three.

In fact, only three teams lost fewer wickets than KKR in the phase, which shows they found a great balance there. The architects behind this success were, of course, Sunil Narine and Phil Salt.

Phil Salt and Sunil Narine, Credit: PTI

Salt racked up 296 runs at a strike rate of 185 in the powerplay while Narine recorded 281 runs at a strike rate of 170.30.  These two ensured that the foundation was set to dominate in the next phase of the game and boy did the Knight Rides dominate in the middle overs. They had the best run rate in the phase and also lost the fewest wickets.

Shreyas Iyer was their most productive batter in this phase, with 249 runs at a strike rate of 140.67. Iyer was dismissed just once in the middle overs all season as well, which meant he ended up playing a significant role at the death too.

Shreyas Iyer, Credit: AP

The KKR captain recorded 84 runs at a strike rate of 233.33 in the death while the destructive Andre Russell put up 96 runs at a strike rate of 208.69. Their efforts led to the Knight Riders having the best run rate in the phase and they were well clear of everyone else.

Just like in the powerplay, there were again only three teams that lost fewer wickets than the Knight Riders in the death. It was just a batting masterclass in every sense of the word.

KKR ended up having four batters cross the 350-run mark and Narine led the way with 488 runs at a strike rate of 180.74. The Trinidadian, who won MVP,  also played a big part in the team having arguably the most potent bowling attack of the tournament.

KKR had six bowlers take 10+ wickets in this edition and it was just the fourth time in the history of the IPL that a team had accomplished that (KXIP in 14, CSK in 15, KKR in 21). Varun Chakravarthy was the pick of the bowlers with 21 scalps and was followed by Russell (19), Harshit Rana (19), Narine (17), Mitchell Starc (17), and Vaibhav Arora (11).

Mitchell Starc, Credit: BCCI

In the powerplay, it was Starc who shone the brightest with 11 wickets while Arora had 7. KKR would end up taking 28 wickets in the phase in total, which was tied for the most in the IPL.

They weren’t quite as economical, but those early breakthroughs meant the stage was set for Narine and Chakravarthy to strangle the opposition. That spin tandem helped KKR pick up the most wickets in the middle overs while also being the most economical team in the phase.

Chakravarthy picked up 19 wickets at an economy of 7.66 in those middle overs while Narine picked up 14 at an economy of 6.15.

The Knight Riders then proved to be one of the more economical teams at the death too, allowing teams to score at a rate of 10.88, which was the third-lowest in the season.  They weren’t quite as prolific at taking wickets in this phase (tied for 5th with 25) but a lot of the damage in that regard had already been done earlier.

All those numbers make it rather easy to understand why the Knight Riders were just so good in this campaign. I am not sure there have been too many other instances of a team just excelling at every phase of the game. There were no real weaknesses to exploit when it came to KRR in 2024 and the brain trust deserves a lot of credit for putting together this team. It is quite unfortunate for them, that we will have a mega auction next year and it will be interesting to see how many players from this core they’d be able to keep for next season.

Featured Image Credit: BCCI

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