Owned by Bollywood actors, Shah Rukh Khan, Juhi Chawla and Jai Mehta, Kolkata were on the receiving end for the first three editions of the Indian T20 League. But in 2011, with a new captain in Gautam Gambhir, the side got the best out of its experienced batting line-up. Pacers like Brett Lee provided the perfect bowling stability needed along with a good spin attack in the form of Iqbal Abdulla and Shakib Al Hasan. All-rounders like Yusuf Pathan and Jacques Kallis, with their mammoth experience, gave the team a strong balance.
However, their superb run of form was eventually halted and their title dream was crushed when the Mumbai Indians knocked them out of the tournament in the playoffs in the fourth season. The good part though was that they were one of the teams included to play in the 2011 Champions League T20. Having gone through the qualifying stages at first, Kolkata took part in the tournament but did not impress much and were knocked out in the early stages.
The year 2012 witnessed the inclusion of the explosive New Zealand batsman Brendon McCullum, who returned to his former franchise after a period of three years, which only meant good news for the Knight Riders. They also added a mystery spinner Sunil Narine to their squad, bolstering their bowling unit. Determination and hard work paid rich dividends as Kolkata claimed their maiden IPL trophy after beating defending champions Chennai in what was a dramatic end to the fifth season. They repeated the feat in 2014 when they won their second IPL trophy. Since then, they have always been consistent and are always reckoned as one of the top teams. In the 2018 auction, Kolkata appointed a new captain, Dinesh Karthik. They had a good run under him but it was ended by Hyderabad in Qualifier 2.
In 2019, Kolkata didn't make it to the playoffs, finishing 5th and in the following edition, their performance dipped. Dinesh Karthik stepped down from captaincy midway through the season and Eoin Morgan was handed over the leadership role. 2020 though ended up being a dry spell for them but in 2021, Kolkata managed to reach the final, eventually losing to Chennai.
Before the mega auction in 2022, Kolkata retained Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Venkatesh Iyer and Varun Chakravarthy. They bought plenty of players in the auction and their costliest buy was Shreyas Iyer who was later announced to lead the team.