Kolkata Knight Riders won their second IPL title by defeating Kings XI Punjab in the 2014 final © Getty Images
Kolkata Knight Riders won their second IPL title by defeating Kings XI Punjab in the 2014 final © IANS

The eighth edition of the cash-rich, Indian Premier League (IPL) 2015 tournament is all set to get underway from April 8, and eight teams comprising of players from all around the cricketing nations would re-group once again to claim the prestigious prize. Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), being the defending champions, are currently in the spotlight as they would be in pursuit of their record third title as well. Ayush Gupta takes a look at the statistics that KKR possesses that makes them contenders for the title this season once again.

Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), co-owned by Red Chillies Entertainment, is one of the most popular teams in the IPL. Bollywood superstar Shahrukh Khan, is the brand ambassador and the popular face of the IPL side.  IPL 2015 Auction: Kolkata Knight Riders full list of players bought

The team failed to fare well initially in the opening three seasons and took a serious blow. Nevertheless, the team was re-assembled in the fourth season, following which it started improving massively, leading to their first title win during the fifth season in 2012. Kolkata Knight Riders, since then have been on  a rise, featuring in four consecutive playoffs. IPL 2015 Auction: Kings XI Punjab full list of players bought

The team, comprising of world-class players like the skipper, Gautam Gambhir, Piyush Chawla, Kuldeep Yadav, Morne Morkel, Sunil Narine, Yusuf Pathan, Andre Russell, Shakib Al Hasan, Ryan ten Doeschate, Robin Uthappa, Suryakumar Yadav and Umesh Yadav has immense firepower and promise to go all the way this time around as well. IPL 2015 Auction: Delhi Daredevils full list of players bought

The 2015 auction saw KKR adding more to their strength, buying some of the renowned as well as talented young uncapped players. The likes of Azhar Mahmood, Johan Botha and Brad Hogg are among the additions in the KKR side (apart from the ones added in the IPL 2015 Auction) . So would the uncapped players, especially KC Cariappa, who was bought for a whopping Rs. 2.4 crore would surely have a lot of eyes upon him.
Let’s have a look at the statistics of KKR’s performance in the IPL so far:

1. The highest total posted by Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in an IPL match is 222 for three, against  Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in the inaugural edition of at M Chinnaswamy Stadium.

2. KKR also has the biggest margin of victory, by 140 runs, in the same match against RCB.

3. Skipper Gautam Gambhir is the highest run-scorer for the team with 1,709 runs from 64 games with an average of 29.46 and a strike-rate of 125.29. Gambhir has slammed 15 half-centuries and has a high score of 93.

4. The highest score ever by a KKR player belongs to Brendon McCullum, who smashed a brilliant 158 in the opening game of first IPL against RCB. He is also the only player to score a century for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) till date. Note: McCullum now plays for Chennai Super Kings (CSK).

5. Wicketkeeper-batsman Robin Uthappa has the highest average of 44.00 by a KKR player from just 16 games. He is also the highest run-scorer for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in a season with 660 runs in the previous edition.

6. The highest strike-rate by any KKR player has been that of the West Indian explosive opener, Chris Gayle, with a strike-rate of 141.59 from just 16 games. Whereas, the highest strike-rate by any Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) player in an innings is by Yusuf Pathan with a whopping rate of 327.27 against Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) at Kolkata last year. Note: Gayle now plays for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB).

7. Gautam Gambhir has the most number of half-centuries (15) for KKR.

8. Yusuf Pathan has hit the most number of sixes (54) for KKR, while Brendon McCullum has hit the most sixes in an innings (13)against RCB in IPL 2008.. Pathan has also scored the most runs from the boundaries, i.e. fours and sixes.

9. Sunil Narine is the highest wicket-taker for KKR till date with 67 scalps for 1,081 runs from 47 games with an average of 16.13 and an economy of 5.77. Narine’s bowling performances for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) include five four-wicket hauls, a five-wicket haul and a hat-trick in the 2013 edition against Kings XI Punjab (KXIP). His best figure so far reads five for 19, which is the best by a KKR player till date. He also has the maximum number of wickets in a season with 24 scalps, in 2012.

10.  Mohammad Hafeez, who played the inaugural edition in 2008, has the best economy in an innings till date.

11.  Shoaib Akhtar, who too played the inaugural edition,   claimed four wickets in an innings for just 11 in three overs against Delhi Daredevils (DD) at Kolkata.

12.  Manvinder Singh Bisla has the most number of dismissals for KKR as wicketkeeper with 22 victims from 27 games, while Morne van Wyk has the maximum dismissals in an innings with four scalps against RCB in 2009, and Brendon McCullum had the most dismissals in a season with 14 dismissals in 2012.

13.  Manoj Tiwary has the maximum number of catches for KKR with 30 catches and most catches in a season with 10 catches in 2013, while Jacques Kallis has the most in an innings with four catches against Deccan Chargers (DC) in 2011 at Kolkata. NOTE: Manoj Tiwary now plays for Delhi daredevils (DD).

14. Jacques Kallis and Gautam Gambhir have the highest partnership for KKR for the second wicket against Rajasthan Royals (RR) at Jaipur in 2011.  IPL 2015 Auction: Full list of players unsold for IPL 8

(Ayush Gupta is a reporter at CricketCountry. A passionate supporter of Manchester United, he idolises Roger Federer and is also a World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) maniac. He can be followed on Twitter @Ayush24x7)