The Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 eliminator between Mumbai Indians (MI) and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) was a thrilling encounter that went down to the wire. KKR emerged victorious by 5 wickets and advanced to the second qualifier, where they will face Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB).
However, one of the most talked-about moments of the match was not the result, but the gesture of KKR bowler Naveen-ul-Haq after he dismissed MI captain Rohit Sharma in the 14th over of the first innings.
What did Naveen-ul-Haq do?
Naveen-ul-Haq, who is an Afghan cricketer playing for KKR, bowled a short delivery that Rohit Sharma pulled towards deep mid-wicket. However, he did not time it well and was caught by Rahul Tripathi at the boundary.
As Rohit Sharma walked back to the pavilion, Naveen-ul-Haq pointed his finger at him and made a shushing gesture with his other hand. He then turned around and celebrated with his teammates.
Why did Naveen-ul-Haq’s gesture spark a controversy?
Naveen-ul-Haq’s gesture was seen by many as disrespectful and unsportsmanlike towards Rohit Sharma, who is one of the most successful captains and batsmen in IPL history. Rohit Sharma has led MI to five IPL titles and has scored over 5000 runs in the tournament.
Some fans also speculated that Naveen-ul-Haq’s gesture was a response to an earlier incident in the match, when Rohit Sharma had hit him for two consecutive boundaries in the 10th over. Rohit Sharma had also gestured at Naveen-ul-Haq after hitting the second four, indicating that he was not impressed by his bowling.
However, some fans also defended Naveen-ul-Haq’s gesture, saying that it was a part of the game and that he was just expressing his emotions after taking a big wicket. They also praised him for his bowling performance, as he finished with figures of 4-0-25-1.
What did Naveen-ul-Haq say about his gesture?
After the match, Naveen-ul-Haq clarified that his gesture was not meant to disrespect Rohit Sharma, but to motivate himself and his team. He said that he respects Rohit Sharma as a player and a captain, and that he was just trying to create some pressure on MI.
“I have a lot of respect for Rohit Sharma. He is a legend of the game. I was just trying to pump myself up and my team up. It was nothing personal. It was just a heat of the moment thing. I wanted to create some pressure on them because they are a very strong team,” Naveen-ul-Haq said in a post-match interview.
What did Rohit Sharma say about Naveen-ul-Haq’s gesture?
Rohit Sharma did not comment on Naveen-ul-Haq’s gesture after the match, but he did praise KKR for their performance and wished them luck for the next match. He also expressed his disappointment with MI’s batting performance, as they could only score 138/7 in 20 overs.
“We didn’t bat well enough. We were probably 20-25 runs short. We lost wickets at regular intervals and never got the momentum going. Credit to KKR, they bowled really well and restricted us to a low total. They deserved to win today. We wish them all the best for the next game,” Rohit Sharma said in a post-match presentation.
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