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Knightmare of an imperfect 10

They are the most talked about team for the wrong reasons. Having discovered new and bizarre ways of losing matches, don’t blame Kolkata Knight Riders for wishing they met triumph with the ease with which they court disaster. Atreyo Mukhopadhyay reports. Special coverage | Listen to podcastaudio

cricket Updated: May 18, 2009 01:21 IST
Atreyo Mukhopadhyay

They are the most talked about team for the wrong reasons. Having discovered new and bizarre ways of losing matches, don’t blame Kolkata Knight Riders for wishing they met triumph with the ease with which they court disaster.

They have defied the law of averages in such a way that in future, a team on a losing streak will remember the Knights’ nightmare before hoping for the tide to turn.

When Kolkata Knight Riders reflect on their South African sojourn, it will be with a wan smile. One provoked by remembrances of numerous tales in which the last chapter could have been different with a bit of luck.

After Saturday's defeat against the Deccan Chargers, Brendon McCullum, managing to smile, said: “Some great contests…we’re on the wrong side of them all.” Following this, the head slumped and the eyes stared blankly, evidently trying to escape the cameras trained on his face.

Of the 10 matches they lost, six were decided in the last over. They would have stood a strong chance of being in the semi-finals had even four of those gone their way.

Two off two balls became too many for them (against Rajasthan), Mahela Jayawardene was ruled not out off one of the clearest shouts for leg-before (against Punjab), 30 to win in four overs with seven wickets in hand became impossible (against Mumbai), bowlers kept gifting waist-high full tosses to Ross Taylor (against Bangalore) and more full tosses made Rohit Sharma a super hero (against the Deccan Chargers).

There were too many so-near-yet-so-far tales. Beyond skill, preparation and execution of plans, luck plays a role in any sport. The Knight Riders will remember with remorse how little they benefited from it.

No team in recent memory has lost so many close ones with such frequency in a competition drawing international attention.

A bit here instead of there and it could have been different. Instead, the Knight Riders set a record others would dread to possess.

In course of time they may even contribute a term in cricket's lexicon — the KKR curse.