Budding cricketers around the globe have certain things on their bucket list. Playing at Kolkata’s Eden Gardens, one of the Holy Grails of Indian cricket, is surely one of them.
Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) call it their home, and an Indian Premier League (IPL) match taking place under lights at this hallowed stadium has always been a sight to behold.
The Knights have won 45 of their 74 matches played at this venue, which equates to a win percentage of 60.81%. In the first two editions of the IPL alone, KKR won 9 of their 14 home games at the Eden.
Former KKR skipper Gautam Gambhir leads the IPL scoring charts at the Eden with 1,407 runs. He is followed by former Knights Robin Uthappa (1,159 runs), Yusuf Pathan (861 runs), and Dinesh Karthik (621 runs).
From the current KKR squad only Andre Russell features among the top five batters of this elite list with 699 IPL runs in Kolkata.
Among the bowlers, Sunil Narine has been the highest wicket taker in the IPL at the Eden with 56 scalps. He is followed by Piyush Chawla (41), Andre Russell (27), Shakib Al Hasan (21) and Kuldeep Yadav (21).
As daunting a task as it is, we have selected five of KKR’s finest outings at the Eden Gardens. However, this list is subjective, so please feel free to share with us what you feel are KKR’s top five matches at the said venue.
5.THE FIRST IPL WIN AT EDEN
Firsts are always special. The Purple & Gold brigade made a memorable start to their IPL sojourn at the Eden Gardens when they defeated the erstwhile Deccan Chargers by 5 wickets on April 20, 2008.
In the low-scoring contest, Deccan Chargers, after winning the toss and opting to bat first, were bundled out for a meager 110. KKR’s Murali Karthik and Ajit Agarkar were the wreckers-in-chief as they returned with figures of 3/17 and 2/19, respectively.
Although the Knights did stutter a bit in their chase, they rode David Hussey’s 43-ball 38 and cameos from captain Sourav Ganguly (14) and Mohammad Hafeez (13) to register their maiden IPL victory at home.
Here's a speech from Sourav Ganguly motivating his teammates during the 2008 IPL campaign
4.THE RAWALPINDI EXPRESS JOINS THE PARTY
There couldn’t have been a better stage for legendary Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar to announce himself in the world’s biggest T20 league.
Let’s wind back the clock to May 13, 2008. After starting off their inaugural IPL campaign with two consecutive wins, the Knights suffered three losses on the trot. However, they staged a quick turnaround and completed a hat-trick of wins in the game where Akhtar made his KKR debut.
The speedster tore through the opposition batting order, claiming the prized wickets of Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, AB de Villiers and Manoj Tiwary. KKR eventually won the game by 23 runs in front of a packed Eden crowd. No prizes for guessing who the Player of the Match was!
Andre Russell has been the cynosure of KKR fans ever since he joined the team in 2014. The Jamaican all-rounder has been a legend for the franchise, to say the least. One of the most valuable players in IPL history, Dre-Russ has won the MVP season award twice (in 2015 and 2019).
Russell exhibited his red-hot form in KKR’s home match against Mumbai Indians at the Eden Gardens on April 28, 2019. Batting at No. 3, he scored a match-winning 40-ball unbeaten 80 to propel KKR’s total to 232/2 and lay the foundation for a victory. Despite Hardik Pandya’s valiant 34-ball 91 during the chase, KKR managed to restrict MI to 198/7 and win the contest by 34 runs.
2.THE ROAD TO THE 2014 FINAL VIA EDEN
Although KKR haven’t featured in either of the two IPL finals held at the Eden Gardens, they gained an entry into the summit clash by virtue of beating Punjab Kings (then Kings XI Punjab) by 28 runs via DLS method in Qualifier 1 in May 2014.
Put in to bat first, KKR posted 163/8 at the end of their 20 overs, courtesy a 30-ball 42 from Robin Uthappa and cameos from most other batters. The Knights won the rain-affected contest by 28 runs on DLS and stormed into the final, which they won against the same opponent in Bengaluru to lift their second IPL title.
1.BOWLING RECORD vs RCB
Talk about dominance and the Knights exemplified the word in their 82-run win over Royal Challengers Bangalore on April 23, 2017, setting an IPL bowling record at the Eden in the process.
Batting first, the Purple & Gold brigade was all out for 131, with Sunil Narine top scoring with 34 off 17 balls.
In what turned out to be a nightmarish chase, RCB were bowled out for just 49 runs within 10 overs as KKR pacers Nathan Coulter-Nile (3/21), Chris Woakes (3/6), Colin de Grandhomme (3/4) and Umesh Yadav (1/15) shared the spoils among them. It still continues to be a record for the lowest innings total at the Eden Gardens in IPL history.