It's been 10 years since Kolkata Knight Riders first made a place in your heart with a superlative show on the opening day of the Indian Premier League in 2008.
As we continue this special journey, here is a look back at the top 10 innings played by our batsmen in IPL over the last nine seasons. Enjoy the ride!
The IPL could not have asked for a better start! After the fireworks during the opening ceremony, it was time for some fireworks on the field. Brendon McCullum smashed his way into the record book with a seen-to-be-believed innings of unbeaten 158 from only 73 balls. This innings of 10 boundaries and 13 towering sixes powered KKR to 3/222, a total which proved too much for RCB. McCullum had shown that IPL with its great cocktail of glitz, glamour and cricket was a dream product for every sports lover worldwide.
The opening season of IPL did not exactly go as per plan for KKR after a dream win over RCB in the first game. Knocked out of the tournament, it was a case of playing for pride in their final game against KXIP at Eden Gardens. Chasing a stiff 175 for victory, it seemed all downhill for KKR at 6/106 in the 16th over. However skipper Sourav Ganguly pulled out a rabbit from the bag, on his way to an unbeaten 86 from 53 balls. This wonder innings comprised of six boundaries and six sixes. Eventually DADA's magic helped KKR cross the line with 2 balls to spare, thereby giving KKR's fanatical fans something to cheer about at the end of a long season.
KKR had a revamped side in 2011 with a new skipper in Gautam Gambhir and an influx of foreign stars like Jacques Kallis, Shakib Al Hasan and Brett Lee. In their penultimate game against Pune Warriors India at Navi Mumbai, KKR needed a victory to book their maiden spot in the playoffs. After restricting the hosts to 7/118, the captain let his bat do the talking with an unbeaten 54 in 46 balls on a slow surface. This innings was good enough to ensure the win for KKR along with a spot in the playoffs.
Cometh the hour, cometh the man! Whenever KKR has had a big game, Yusuf Pathan has stepped up and delivered. Playing the first qualifier against Delhi Daredevils at Pune in 2012, the burly allrounder came up with a game-changing unbeaten knock of 40 in only 21 balls. The innings, comprising of 3 boundaries and 2 sixes, propelled KKR to 4/162. That total proved 18 runs too many for the Daredevils and we booked our maiden spot in an IPL final.
To beat CSK in their own den in a final was a gigantic task. And after conceding 3/190 and losing skipper Gautam Gambhir in the first over, that task seemed impossible! However no one was going to deny the Knights this time. Manvinder Bisla played a dream innings with 89 off 48 balls, comprising of 8 boundaries and 5 sixes. He maintained steady pressure on the CSK bowlers, keeping up with the required run-rate of nearly 10 runs per over. Although he couldn't finish off the job, this innings is etched in the memory of cricket lovers worldwide with KKR winning their maiden IPL title.
KKR had won 5 games on the trot and victory at home over RCB in their 13th game of the season, would ensure that Gambhir and Co. went through to the playoffs with 8 wins. Robin Uthappa had hit a purple patch after being promoted up the order midway through the tournament. Once again, he was KKR's man on the big day, smashing 83 in 51 balls. He combined brillantly with Shakib Al Hasan during a 121-run fourth wicket stand, helping the hosts post an imposing 4/195. The total proved too much for RCB as they could manage only 5/165 in reply.
This innings from Yusuf Pathan is still rated as one of the best innings ever played in IPL history. Chasing 161 inside 15 overs for a top-two finish in the league standings, KKR were struggling 4/78 in the 10th over. Enter Pathan! The all-rounder recorded the fastest fifty in IPL history, smashing 72 off a meagre 22 balls. The highlight of this innings came in the 13th over against Dale Steyn. The sequence was 4, 6, 6, 4, 4, 2. Victory came in the 15th over, thereby ensuring KKR a top-two finish. This was the side's seventh win on the trot.
KKR had made their way to the final, beating KXIP in the first qualifier at Kolkata. The Punjab side then went on to beat CSK at Mumbai in the second qualifier. This was the fourth battle between these 2 teams in IPL 2014 edition. Just like the 2012 final, KKR bowled first and their opponents finished their innings at 4/199. In an encore from the 2012 edition, the Purple brigade found their Knight for the big evening in Young Turk as Manish Pandey smashed his way to 94 in 50 balls. His innings, comprising of 7 boundaries and 6 towering sixes, meant that KKR kept up with the asking rate of 10 runs per over. This knock, along with the help of some calm lower-order batting, ensured that KKR became IPL champions for the second time in three years.
Defending champions KKR travelled to Pune for their third game of the season, with a win and loss in their first two games respectively. In what was a rematch of the 2014 final, hosts KXIP put up 9/155 in 20 overs. The Knights, in reply, were struggling at 5/60 in the eighth over. However Andre Russell in the company of Yusuf Pathan ensured there were no heartbreaks in the KKR camp, smashing his way to 66 in only 36 deliveries. The Jamaican all-rounder hit 9 boundaries and 2 sixes as victory was sealed with 4 wickets and 13 balls remaining.
Yusuf Pathan has an uncanny ability to come up with the goods when KKR needs them the most. The face of a countless number of Kolkata wins, Pathan was at his very best yet again in the 2016 edition of the team's away game against RCB. It's almost as if tougher and more challenging the situation, the better it gets out of the allrounder! In a high profile game, KKR were faltering at 4/69 in the 11th over chasing a target of 186. And that's when Pathan brought on his 'A' game for the umpteenth time, hitting an unbeaten 60 in 29 balls to power the Knights to 5-wicket win in the last over. This innings at Bangalore would have rekindled some great memories for Pathan since he also scored his first ODI hundred at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in 2010.