While Kohli was booed and called a 'cheater' after his side, RCB, went down to Mumbai Indians on Saturday, Harbhajan was jubilant after picking up the prized wicket of swashbuckling Gayle. (BCCI Images) (BCCI)
In cricket it rarely happens that a player loved by public for playing for his country is booed when he represents a different franchise in a Twenty20 game. But Virat Kohli, who is the captain of Royal Challengers Bangalore, was booed and called a 'cheater' after his side went down to Mumbai Indians on Saturday.
Kohli, who was clearly flustered by the crowd's reaction, didn't like it a bit and replied to it in his typical aggressive way. "Let them boo me. It is not the end of the world, they forget that I also play for India. It is only creating hatred among the players. When I come back and play for India, they are going to cheer for me. It doesn't work that way. You come to Bangalore and you see how Indian players are appreciated.
"...I don't know what is wrong with people in this venue. It feels a bit weird because at the end of the day you play for India and you don't come here to be hated. Whoever wins or loses, in any of the games, you come to Bangalore, every captain is cheered, every Indian player is cheered," he added.
RCB, who have a wonderful season until now - winning six of their nine matches, were outplayed by a clinical Mumbai side that first batted efficiently to post a mammoth 194 and then strangled the powerful RCB batting line-up, comprising the swashbuckling Chris Gayle, mercurial Kohli and innovative AB de Villiers.
All the RCB bowlers were extremely expensive, giving runs at over eight an over, with left-arm spinner Syed Mohammad going for 1 for 43 in his four overs. Kohli defended his bowlers, saying it was just one of those days when the team's batting and bowling didn't click.
"I will back my bowlers. They have bowled very well right through the tournament. This was just one of those days. I know that our batting is not that long. We need to pick up and do well in the next match," he added.
Harbhajan Singh, meanwhile, was over the moon as he provided the side the prized wicket of Gayle. "It was important to get Chris out rather than restricting him. I thought I will toss a few up, very happy that it worked and I got rid of him. It was a good win. My dance ended up in a 'Bhangnam' style," an ecstatic Harbhajan said after the match.
Meanwhile, Rohit Sharma, who has been given the Mumbai reins from Ricky Ponting, was rightly happy with the performance of his team that has won two back-to-back matches now. "We played a perfect game today, got the runs and defended them pretty well. I thought that we executed all our plans perfectly. I am enjoying the captaincy and will look to do well in the next match as well."
Dwayne Smith, who bagged his second Man of the Match in a row, was elated by his own show and the way his team responded to a difficult situation. "[I am] really feeling good. We had a good start and made sure that we made it count. I have a defined role and it was good to start well. I am enjoying my bowling and hope to do well in future as well," Smith said as he followed his 62 against Kolkata with a 50 against RCB on Sunday.