Last night, the Kolkata Knight Riders became the fourth team in the tournament to beat the Mumbai Indians after they won the match by 9 wickets. Prior to the match between the aforementioned teams, the Kolkata Knight Riders had a last opportunity to make it to the last four atleast this time especially when they were playing in Kolkata. Had the Kolkata team been able to overcome the Mumbai Indians in the last match of the league stage, by a good run rate, the Royal Challengers Bangalore would have been knocked out and there would have been yet another encounter between both the teams.
The Mumbai Indians gave the Kolkata Knight Riders every opportunity possible so that they make the better of them first with their usual captain Sachin Tendulkar opting to rest himself and then choosing Dwayne Bravo to captain his side. If at all Schin Tendulkar was supposed to rest himself for a match, he would have done it in any of the earlier games which his team played after making it to the semi finals of the tournament long back. But, that was never to be the case. One suggestion might be that Sachin Tendulkar would have wanted to confirm the orange cap so that it is not taken away once again by Kallis.
And, if at all Sachin Tendulkar wanted to give chance to some players who have so far never seen playing in the IPL, still that could have been done long back and not in just one game. Dilhara Fernando would have been handy even in the earlier games as well and Lasith Malinga need not have been dropped or rested. In one way, it is good for the Mumbai Indians in case the Kolkata Knight Riders replace the Royal Challengers for, the Kolkata team are better for the Mumbai team if compared to Bangalore. If Kolkata get through to the semis, then Mumbai can think of a final berth more probably than it would be the case of RCB qualifies.
If the match was followed closely, the Mumbai Indians, despite winning the toss and choosing to bat first neither lost wickets, neither showed any sort of discomfort nor put up a decent total. They were in the 14th over found at 85/4 with a run rate of less than 6 an over. Their total towards the end also didn't sound so appealing and it was thought that the Kolkata would sneak into the semis after the match was gifted to them by Mumbai. Had the Kolkata team went in for a brutal chase, by getting to the target in say 13 overs, they could have got into the last four. But. sad that the Kolkata couldn't do even that despite the cooperation.
Of course, no one takes an inconsequential game seriously and the Mumbai Indians are no exception. And experimenting in such games is welcome by anyone but, losing with an intention that a strong team gets knocked out is unethical though not illegal.