Kolkata Knight Riders were down and under, it was decided much before the last league match started on 19th April between Kolkata Knight Riders(KKR) and Mumbai Indians(MI) that KKR were out of the tournament and MI were on the top slot with a confirmed berth for the semi-finals against Royal Challenger’s Bangalore.
This match was a mere formality and MI decided to rest most of their senior players including Sachin Tendulkar, Harbhajan Singh & Zaheer Khan. MI won the toss and elected to bat. As KKR team came down on the field, there was a different attitude in the players; their captain Sourav Ganguly had a much focused look on his face. He was disappointed yet focused. He had the determination showing on his face that no matter what, he won’t let his team lose this final match and lose face forever.
As the match began to progress, this was very apparent to all the viewers and hard core fans of Kolkata’s team that they had the entire match in their control, they were not going to let Mumbai Indians win this match easily. Agreed that MI had ascended on the field with many new-comers in the side and most senior players rested, still they never had a chance. Runs weren’t coming their way; wickets were falling at regular intervals. No partnership was working; hardly any extra runs were being given. All was not well for the Mumbai Indians.
At the end of their innings, MI had managed to make 133 runs, setting an easy target for KKR, but KKR has been known to lose chasing simpler targets as well. Opening batsmen came down to bat with a very confident stride and they never looked back. Runs were coming much easily for this side, they weren’t making mistakes and the target always seemed achievable.
KKR side had never been this confident in the entire series, what had changed overnight? Was it the effect of public apology and statements of the owner of the KKR team, Shah Rukh Khan? Or was it the effect of zero pressure? They knew they were out of the tournament and could no way make it to semis, irrespective of how they played. This led to taking the pressure off them and they were all relaxed mentally and enjoying their game. They had determined that they won’t lose out the final match and go out of the tournament with bowed head and they all as a team ensured that they put forward the best they all had to offer. Wish they had done this a couple of matches earlier; they could have been a contender for the IPL trophy this year!