Virat Kohli asks crowd to cheer not jeer for Hardik Pandya during MI-RCB clash

Virat Kohli asks crowd to cheer not jeer for Hardik Pandya during MI-RCB clash
Image source: IPL

Mumbai, Maharashtra: Royal Challengers Bengaluru (RCB) opener Virat Kohli was disappointed with the Wankhade crowd as they continuously booed Mumbai Indians (MI) skipper Hardik Pandya during the 25th game of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 on Thursday.

Not impressed by the crowd's response, Kohli asked them to stop being harsh and urged them to applaud the MI captain. The gesture quickly went viral on social media with fans praising him for his intervention.

The first time Hardik bowled during the RCB innings, the fans mocked him, but the least amount of support was shown when he walked out to bat following Rohit's removal. While the crowd enthusiastically applauded Rohit's every shot, Hardik struggled to get the same level of support.

In a video that went viral on social media, Kohli was seen reminding the fans that Hardik is a member of the Indian cricket team and intervening quickly to stop the boos.

The outcome was nearly immediate as the MI captain answered the cheers of "Hardik, Hardik" from a part of the crowd with a first-ball six off Will Jacks.

In November last year, the 30-year-old player moved back from Gujarat Titans (GT) to his former franchise as part of a trade between both franchises. The star all-rounder spent two momentous years with GT, spearheading their campaign in the cash-rich league with aplomb. In GT's debut season in 2022, Hardik got them off to a fairytale start, with the team lifting the coveted trophy.

In 31 matches for GT, the right-hand batter has scored 833 runs at an average of 37.86 and a strike rate of over 133, with six half-centuries and a best score of 87*. He also took 11 wickets for the team, with the best figures of 3/17.

Pandya also played 92 matches for MI from 2015-2021, scoring 1,476 runs at an average of 27.33 at a strike rate of over 153, with four half-centuries and best score of 91. He also took 42 wickets for the team, with the best bowling figures of 3/20. Pandya has won five IPL trophies, four with MI (2015, 2017, 2019, 2020) and GT (2022).

Recapping the match, fiery half-centuries by Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar and a five-wicket haul by Jasprit Bumrah helped MI seal a comprehensive seven-wicket win against RCB in the ongoing IPL 2024 at Wankhede Stadium on Thursday.