For someone who hates losing, this defeat must have been extremely painful, that too to a team led by Gautam Gambhir who made his international debut nearly 11 years after him.
Gambhir is nine years younger than Ganguly and to see someone who hasn't seen or experienced as much cricket as him marshal his resources to victory and that too in front of his home crowd will hurt him forever.
Everyone knows that Ganguly did want to prove a point to Kolkata Knight Riders co-owner Shah Rukh Khan, who orchestrated his exit from his home team. Though he is a film star, Khan has correctly picked the right man in Gambhir to lead his team.
One does not know whether it was his brain or that of the legendary pacer Wasim Akram, who is the bowling coach and an important member of the support staff that influenced the choice. Gambhir however shares a lot of similarities with Ganguly.
Provoke them or rub them wrong and one can be certain that they will summon all their intensity. Ganguly showed it when Indian team coach Greg Chappell tried to put an end to his career. He staged an unbelievable comeback. Gambhir too thrashes the bowling and produces his best when challenged.
After the victory Gambhir sportingly admitted that "Ganguly is a legend and I am still far away from the contribution he has made for the game. Only ten per cent of the crowd may have cheered for me. It was like playing an away game".
The aura of Ganguly lives on and Kolkata could sense victory only after his exit. Through his fighting knock, Ganguly loudly proclaimed that even at 39 he is a force and his omission from the Kolkata team was nothing but prejudice.
By forcing Shah Rukh Khan to admit that he is a legend, Ganguly has won the battle though his team lost the match. Knowing Ganguly and his character very well over the years I am sure he would have asked himself: Is Khan worthy enough to comment on my stature in the game? Ganguly's sarcasm has always been as sharp as his captaincy.
Gambhir led from the front with a fighting half-century and would have learned a lot from his former captain during the match. He has the hunger and determination like Ganguly and can surely be successful as a captain for India in future.
Indian cricket needs such fighters to overcome other teams if they hope to stay among the top cricketing nations.