In a moment rarely seen on the cricketing field, Mumbai Indian’s allrounder Hardik Pandya, and KXIP batsman KL Rahul, who scored 94 runs in 60 balls, but failed to take his side to victory, exchanged their jerseys after the match as a mark of respect to each other. Speaking in an interview to the commentators after the match, Rahul explained that they wish to bring this footballing tradition into cricket. “We’ve seen this happening a lot in football. Hardik and I are good friends, and I felt like it would be nice to collect some jersey and bring this tradition into cricket as well,” the 26-year old said.
He further added that the two players did not plan to do so and it just happened in the moment. “We did not speak about this earlier. It just happened in the moment. I said, ‘give me your jersey’ and he wanted my jersey too, so we exchanged them. It’s a nice thing,” the right-hand batsman said.
Rahul further went on to add that when he and Hardik come out in the field in IPL, they both want to win against each other. “Even though we play 300 days of cricket, but during these two months of IPL, there is no friendship when we step on the field. I want to take him (Hardik) down, he wants to get my wicket. All the eight teams compete very hard. This is what has made IPL the biggest tournament in the world,” he said.
Play hard, play fair! Respect comes first. ✊🏽
— hardik pandya (@hardikpandya7) 17 May 2018
It was the fourth consecutive loss for KXIP, in spite of Rahul scoring his third fifty in the last four games. Speaking on his batting, the batsman said that he wishes to take the extra role as an opener. “In the first half of the tournament, I was scoring 50-60, and I saw from the dugout the middle-order struggling to carry on with the momentum. So as an opener, I wanted to take the extra responsibility and I knew if I bat 20 overs, we’d be able to get close to the target.”
Expressing his disappointment on the result, the Karnataka batsman said that he is learning from such situations. “Unfortunately, things have not worked out for the team in the past few games, but everything is a learning experience and I am learning how to handle such situations,” he said.
With the win, Mumbai Indians climbed to the fourth position in the table, while KXIP slipped further down to the 6th position.