On Saturday, Naveen did get his opportunity to shut the Kolkata crowd by pulling off a Gambhir, the LSG mentor had his chance after the thrilling last-ball win.
Lucknow Super Giants did not just battle against a thundering Rinku Singh knock to book their place in the IPL 2023 playoffs, but fought against the brutal Eden Gardens crowd, who were at their ears throughout the second innings with “Virat Kohli” chants. The infamous incident of May 1 in Lucknow remain embedded in the hearts of fans, who at times use it to show their support for the former India cricketer, and at times as part of mind games to distract the LSG players. On Saturday, Naveen-ul-Haq did get his opportunity to shut the Kolkata crowd by pulling off a Gautam Gambhir, the LSG mentor had his chance after the thrilling last-ball win.
The ‘Kohli’ chants had begun when LSG skipper Krunal Pandya had handed the new ball to Naveen in the second over of Kolkata Knight Riders‘ chase. The Eden Gardens crowd showed no respect with their shouts, which were louder than what Naveen faced at home in Lucknow earlier this week and in the match against Sunrisers Hyderabad in Hyderabad. Naveen erred in the over and was smacked for a flurry of boundaries against Jason Roy which further led the crowd to tease the Afghanistan quick.
Later during that innings, when Ravi Bishnoi had picked up a brilliant catch to complete the dismissal of Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Naveen, who had sprinted in from the deep to provide cover, looked back at the crowd and shushed them, just like Gambhir did to the Chinnaswamy crowd last month after the team’s win against RCB.
Well, the chants were surely not just aimed at Naveen solely. It was also meant for Gambhir, who was in the dug out. And despite the veteran Indian batter being a former KKR captain who had led them to their only two IPL title hauls, the crowd showed no mercy. At the end of the match, when Gambhir was making his way back into the dressing room, a loud ‘Kohli’ chant broke out near that stand. The LSG mentor threw a death stare at them and then gestured them to keep the volume down.
Watch the video here…
LSG are through to the playoffs, becoming the third team after Chennai Super Kings and Gujarat Titans to do so. They have however failed to secure a top-two finish, meaning they will play the Eliminator. And it could be that LSG face RCB in that tie depending on the results of the final two leagues games of IPL 2023.