Royal Challengers Bangalore’s Virat Kohli and Lucknow Super Giants’s global mentor Gautam Gambhir have been fined 100% of their match fees for their post-match spat at the Ekana stadium in Lucknow on Monday. LSG bowler Naveen-ul-Haq was fined 50% of his match fee as well.
While Kohli and Gambhir were sanctioned for a level 2 breach of the IPL Code of Conduct, Naveen-ul-Haq was sanctioned for a level 1 breach.
All three were found in violation of Article 2.21, which covers: (a) public acts of misconduct; (b) unruly public behaviour; and (c) inappropriate comments which are detrimental to the interests of the game.
Kohli was an animated figure during LSG’s chase and gestured shushing the crowd after taking the catch to dismiss Krunal Pandya. Gambhir had similarly shushed the crowd at the M Chinnaswamy stadium when LSG beat RCB in a last-ball thriller earlier this season.
Kohli and Naveen-ul-Haq exchanged words when the latter was dismissed and the pair had a testy handshake followed by some more heated words after the match.
Footage also showed Gambhir and Kohli share a rather forced handshake with the LSG mentor later pulling opener Kyle Mayers away from Kohli when the West Indian batter was chatting with the former India captain.
Tempers flared a minute later when Gambhir got past LSG captain KL Rahul and Avesh Khan to give Kohli a piece of his mind. Kohli appeared to placate the 2011 Word Cup winner but things did not simmer down with LSG bowler Amit Mishra, still in full kit, having to step in and separate the duo.
Footage also showed that Rahul tried to mediate between Kohli and Naveen-ul-Haq later on but the Afghanistan international brushed off the attempts. There were arguments between Kohli and Naveen during the latter stages of the match as well with broadcasters showing footage between overs. While Naveen and Amit Mishra was batting, heated exchanges took place that resulted in Kohli gesturing in the direction of the Afghan bowler pointing with something from his shoe.
There was also a fiery Mohammed Siraj over to these two batters, with some heat throughout. Clearly, that phase seems to have carried on post match.
This is not the first time that Kohli and Gambhir have clashed. During an IPL 2013 match between RCB, then skippered by Kohli, and a KKR team captained by Gambhir, the two Delhi batters had a spat after Kohli was dismissed by L Balaji. The pair had played down the incident post-match saying the incident occurred in the heat of the moment.
While celebrating the win in the dressing room, Kohli said, “That’s a sweet win boys. A sweet win. If you can give it, you got to take it. Otherwise don’t give it.”
“It was a really important win on the road. It’s a very sweet win for many reasons, most importantly for the kind of character we showed defending that total. I think everyone had the belief that we can do it and we ended up on the winning side which is really great.”
“The win was great and the fact that we got more support than the home crowd is an unbelievable feeling, it tells you all about how much we are liked as a team and how people come out and back us,” Kohli added.
RCB captain Faf du Plessis had no issues with Kohli’s aggression in the match saying, “That’s the best version of Virat, isn’t it? “To see him pumped up like that. That’s when he’s at his best. It’s really awesome to be a part of it. My job is to keep things calm on the field, which I thought we did really well.”
The tension was evident on social media too as the team’s official handles kept things going.
In the dressing room reactions, Kohli reiterated something he had tweeted post-match: that in Lucknow, RCB got more support than LSG on the night.
Report has been updated for clarity.