City of no Joy: Kolkata to play only for pride
Fans have few reasons to pack the Eden Gardens on Sunday evening when Kolkata end their inaugural IPL campaign. Sourav Ganguly’s team is out while Yuvraj Singh’s Mohali are already in the semi-finals.
So the chances of seeing hundreds sporting the black-gold shirts and rocking to Korbo Lorbo Jeetbo Re are slim.
That would be a disappointing end to the run that was off to a terrific start in Bangalore on April 18 when Brendon McCullum sent expectations soaring with an unbelievable century.
It didn’t take long for things to change although mathematically, Kolkata’s chances of reaching the semi-finals were alive till their previous match in Delhi where their slim hopes were washed out along with the match.
A match will take place, unless it rains again, because however insignificant it may be, almost every tournament featuring so many teams reaches a position where the outcome of a particular fixture becomes meaningless.
When it became clear that his team’s hopes were gone, coach John Buchanan had said there was still a chance to be counted by upsetting the plans of others, but against Mohali, Kolkata can’t even do that.
A sense of envy may even prevail because Kolkata will see the foreigners who have been so effective for Mohali. Shaun Marsh, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene and Luke Pomersbach have played important roles in some win or the other, while Kolkata have been largely let down by their imports.
Marsh has been the biggest revelation and among the few things to look forward to in this match is the chance to watch him in action, unless Mohali rest him.
His father Geoff, who opened for Australia with distinction, wouldn’t have been an ideal T20 opener, but this left-hander has wasted no time in earning a name for himself.
The law of averages is something that might catch up because he is just not having a bad day.
This would rankle Kolkata because barring David Hussey, their foreign recruits have not been consistent.
Hussey too has failed in the last few matches and his first-ball duck against Chennai proved crucial in the end because it meant the team scored about 10-15 runs less than what they were looking at.
Shah Rukh Khan has urged his players to bow out with a bang instead of a whimper.
Even if they do that, chances are that there wouldn’t be too many at the ground to witness it.
For a campaign that started on a rousing note, this is an anti-climactic end.