KKR... one of the most formidable teams in IPL © AFP
KKR… one of the most formidable teams in IPL © AFP

The cricket teams are often measured on the depth they have on the field and off it. It is a common belief — also a time-proven fact — that a strong bench strength ensures longevity of domination and success. But in T20 cricket, where the margin of error is so small that you have to be on the top of your game throughout, it becomes next to impossible to have a team that guarantees success on paper. Gautam Gambhir’s Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), who are among the three teams to have won the Indian Premier League (IPL) twice in history, today stand as one of the red-hot favourites to win the ongoing edition of the cash-rich T20 cricket league. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Kolkata Knight Riders, IPL 2016, Match 30 at Bengaluru

And exactly why are they being termed as red-hot favourites? Because Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) have developed a team which wins them matches consistently, because they have a batting line-up which can bring them back into contests when all doors look closed, and because they have a bowling attack — dominated by their spin bowlers — who can stifle the best of the batting line-ups.

What Gambhir and the management — the think-tank — have managed to construct is a fine balance of players who can win matches for them on a consistent basis. Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) are not heavily misbalanced like Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) — who have a rich plethora of batsmen in their ranks but a substandard bowling attack. Instead, what KKR have is a fine blend of men who invariably keep stepping up for their side. It is a story of what their players ‘deliver’; not what they ‘promise’.

It will not be exaggerating to say that in Gambhir and Robin Uthappa, Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) have only two pillars in their batting, but they are consistent and this is what separates them from the rest. Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) opening slot never carries the shine that RCB have, and instead, they have men at the top who deliver. And in the bowling department, they can contain, and that is what matters when the wickets are not prepared to assist the bowlers on a general basis.

Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) may have been the spoiled brats for many on the outside, but inside their camp they have enough hunger and fire which keeps them pushing hard. On Monday night, when all hopes looked ending with RCB chipping away with 4 crucial wickets as KKR were chasing a daunting 186 to win, Yusuf Pathan played an unlikely innings of 60 not out off 29 balls and Andre Russell curbed the over-aggressiveness for good to score a fluent 39.

There are simple but critical takeaways from the wins like Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) registered over Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in Bengaluru. The primary one being not to lose heart even in most adverse conditions, which was displayed well by Pathan and Russell who added 96 runs for the fifth wicket. To stage a comeback you not only need players who are capable of doing it, but players who can execute it. Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) lost to Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) not on the talent front, but their execution with the ball remains their biggest worry.

And for those looking an answer to why Gambhir kicked the chair even when his team was winning, the answer is simple. Like any other captain, Gambhir wants his team to be the best, Gambhir knows his team can be one. It’s about delivering, which many fail to do. Gambhir kicking the chair was wrong but just a pure emotion coming up that his side is one of the best and they are proving it consistently. VIDEO: When Gautam Gambhir lost his cool during RCB vs KKR, Match 30, IPL 2016