Their bowlers might have struggled to defend a challenging score of 201 yesterday, but the Kolkata Knight Riders opted not to manage things their own way with their mentor and Pakistani bowling great Wasim Akram being the conspicuous absentee during their practice session yesterday.
The team management however said it was "not mandatory" for the former left-arm pacer to attend the practice session that went on for two hours in the scorching afternoon heat at Eden Gardens here today.
"It was an optional practice, so what if he did not come," said KKR official Jeet Banerjee when inquired about Akram's strange absence.
In Akram's absence, KKR coach Dav Whatmore, a former middle-order batsman for Australia, doubled up as a bowler and offered tips to the struggling bowlers of the side who included the rookie left-arm pacer Jaydev Unadkat who had conceded 32 runs from 2.2 overs in his debut match last night.
Defending a stiff 201, all the KKR bowlers barring Shane Bond conceded more than 10 runs per over as Kings XI rode on an unbeaten century by Mahela Jaywardene to register a comfortable eight-wicket win that saw their four-match losing streak coming to an end.
The loss was a big blow to KKR's semi-final aspiration. Knight Riders lie on fifth spot and now have five matches left in the league stage.