Dubai: Victory for Kolkata Knight Riders had looked like a formality against their nemesis Mumbai Indians when their openers Nitish Rana and Shubhman Gill had walloped 72 runs in nine overs before Gill fell chasing just 152.
But KKR then committed hara-kiri and they paid the price for playing the gung-ho style of cricket which England have played under Eoin Morgan for five years, and collapsed to 122/5 to fall short by 10 runs and lose from a winning position.
No one can say KKR paid the price for being too aggressive, but you can’t rule out the fact that KKR are finding different ways of losing to arch rivals Mumbai for over a decade now. Their record against Mumbai is now 22 losses to just six wins in 28 games, which is abysmal and KKR team owner Shah Rukh Khan summed up with a tweet that it was pretty disappointing performance and he apologised to the fans.
Now, what happens to KKR when playing against Mumbai , which is not the case when they play against other teams? Gautam Gambhir under whom KKR has won the two IPL titles had said that Mumbai take out their 'A' game when they play against KKR.
History shows that once a team dominates another team for a while it becomes difficult for the losing team to come out of that slump. There was a time after the great Javed Miandad had hit that heart-breaking six at Sharjah, India were finding it very difficult to beat the Pakistan team in the 1990s and there was a mental block whenever they played Pakistan until India won the T20 World Cup. Similarly the Pakistan team still can't find a way to beat India in a World Cup game from 1992 as they go in to a negative frame of mind whenever a World Cup game happens against India.
The sight of Rohit Sharma’s Mumbai seems to bully the KKR team time and again and it will take something special from KKR to get out of this rut. I am not sure when it will happen, but unless they find a way past Mumbai, a third title for KKR is so near yet so far.