Mumbai Indians (MI) fixed their place in Qualifier 2 after a huge 81-run victory over Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) in the Eliminator of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Wednesday (May 24).
Akash Madhwal (5 for 5 in 3.3 overs) was the pick of the bowlers for MI. He took the crucial wickets of Prerak Mankad, Ayush Badoni and the dangerous Nicholas Pooran for a golden duck before removing Ravi Bishnoi and Mohsin Khan in the closing stages of the match.
On the other hand, Naveen-ul-Haq, LSG’s best bowler in the game, dismissed MI captain Rohit Sharma in his first over, and ended his quota of four overs by taking another three crucial wickets. Cameron Green, Suryakumar Yadav and Tilak Verma became the victims of Naveen’s breathtaking bowling.
But the Afghan pacer nowadays remains in the news, not only for his bowling performance on the field but also for his Instagram stories. Some section of cricket fans believes the main motive of the stories that Naveen posted in the recent past was to target the Indian superstar Virat Kohli.
The uproar began after Naveen’s heated exchange with Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) stalwart during their match on May 1 in Lucknow. Fans took it upon themselves to taunt Naveen every time he walked on the field, but the player remained unfazed.
Since then, the LSG seamer has been the target of relentless taunting and chants of ‘Kohli, Kohli’ by fans in the IPL 2023, wherever he goes. Even during the Eliminator against MI, the crowd continued their taunting whenever Naveen came into close contact with the ball or guarding on the boundary line.
Answering to the question regarding the continuous chants of ‘Kohli-Kohli’, the right-arm seamer said he doesn’t get affected by any of such taunts, and instead, it motivates him to do well for his team.
“I enjoy it. I like that everybody in the ground is chanting his name, or any other player’s name. It gives me passion to play well for my team,” Naveen said in the post-match press conference.
“I don’t concentrate on the outside noise. I just focus on my own cricket. It’s not like if the crowd is chanting or anyone is saying something… it doesn’t affect me. As professional sportsmen you have to take it in your stride. One day you will not do your best for the team and these fans are going to give it to you. On another day, you’ll do a special thing for your team and the same people are going to chant your name,” Naveen added.
LSG’s journey in IPL 2023 has come to an end after facing a heavy defeat at the hands of MI.
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