Bollywood superstar and principal owner Shah Rukh Khan cheered Kolkata Knight Riders from the stands at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Sunday as his new-look team, under new skipper Dinesh Karthik, set out to regain lost ground in the Indian Premier League in the post-Gautam Gambhir era.
Accompanied by his daughter Suhana Khan, who looked resplendent in a white top emblazoned with the KKR logo, Shah Rukh entered his home ground about an hour before the first ball was bowled for his team's season opener against the Virat Kohli-led Royal Challengers Bangalore.
This was Karthik's first stint as an IPL team skipper and Shah Rukh made sure he gave the new-look team the much-needed boost. His team also includes Sanjay Kapoor, who cheered from the corporate stand.
KKR had to confront a partisan crowd as about half of the packed Eden Gardens shouted 'RCB, RCB' while AB de Villiers and Kohli were in the middle of their 64-run partnership off 36 balls.
Welcoming the new captain Shah Rukh Khan had posted a heart-warming message on Twitter: "As we stand poised for a new season of KKR we welcome @DineshKarthik as our Captain. Like our Captains over the yrs we know u will also lead us by boosting the self esteem & dignity of all of us."
Shah Rukh, who is shooting overseas for his movie, specially flew in for KKR's opening game and is expected to return after the first match.
KKR made a winning start to their campaign, the hosts outclassing RCB by four wickets.
Put in to bat, Brendon McCullum (43) and AB de Villiers (44) top-scored for Bangalore, while skipper Mandeep Singh (37) and Virat Kohli (31) also contributed with the bat as RCB posted a decent 176-7.
In reply, Sunil Narine gave Kolkata Knight Riders a flying start with a 19-ball 50 and Nitish Rana (34) and new skipper Dinesh Karthik (35 not out) scored crucial knocks as KKR overhauled the target with 7 balls to spare.