Sunil Narine : The ‘mystery man’ from the West Indies set the tournament on fire in his debut season. Narine ended the season as one of the most economical bowlers (5.40) and also picked up 24 wickets, with his deadly turners being unplayable throughout the tournament. Opposition teams had to plan carefully before facing up to Narine and he still managed to outwit the best of them, with his delivery to bowl Sachin Tendulkar in Mumbai going down as one of the highlights of the season. The skipper tossed the ball to his strike bowler in every difficult situation and was consistently repaid for his faith. Narine managed to record the best bowling performance by a Knight in the history of the IPL, when he picked up 5/19 against KXIP. It was his miserly economy rate (5.47) that proved to be the most crucial asset for KKR as they defended many low totals over the season.
Jacques Kallis : Kallis finished as the 2nd highest wicket taker for the Knights with 15 wickets this season at an economy rate of 7.40. Kallis took on the responsibility of bowling in the middle overs and managed to trouble the batsmen with his clever mix of short pitched and full length deliveries. He put in excellent performances with the ball against DD in both the league stages and the qualifier, picking up 2 important wickets in both games. When the Knights were trying to defend a low total against MI in Mumbai, Kallis came up with 2 wickets (Smith and Pollard) off successive balls to finish off Mumbai’s chances in that game.
Lakshmipathy Balaji : Balaji made his mark in his first game of the season against RCB in Bangalore when he bowled what Gambhir later described as, “one of the best T20 bowling performances I’ve ever seen.” Balaji bowled magnificently on the day to pick up 4/18 and the Man of the match award that day and despite missing many games due to injury, he managed to pick up 11 wickets in 8 games at an economy rate of 5.40. He also bowled an excellent spell in the qualifier against DD before a hamstring injury ruled him out of the game and the final. Gambhir dedicated the Knight’s performance in the final to Balaji.
Shakib Al Hasan : The allrounder managed to pick up 12 wickets in 8 games, picking up 2 man of the match awards on the way for his performances with both bat and ball against RR and PWI. His performance against PWI in the Knight’s last league game ensured that the Knights would qualify at the 2nd spot on the points table. His economy rate was 6.50 and he opened the bowling for the Knights in the games that he played, getting early breakthroughs and controlling the runflow at the start of the innings.
Rajat Bhatia : Rajat Bhatia did an excellent job right through the tournament in the middle overs, using his experience to make it extremely difficult for the batsmen to score freely off his 4 overs. Along with Narine and Kallis, Bhatia was the bowler that Gambhir always turned to when the run rate needed to be controlled or partnerships needed to be broken. Bhatia had a run of 2 games in the league stages where he didn’t concede a single boundary off his full quota of overs, an extremely impressive achievement in this form of the game.
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