The clash between Naveen-ul-Haq and Virat Kohli had started on May 1 during Lucknow’s home game against Bangalore, and does not seem to be stopping anytime soon. After RCB failed to make it to the IPL 2023 Playoffs, Naveen posted a cryptic Instagram story.
RCB needed to beat Gujarat in their last league game of to qualify for the playoffs. Despite Virat Kohli’s hundred, they could not manage to get over the line as Gujarat won the game by six wickets and knocked RCB out, helping Mumbai Indians qualify in the process.
Soon after the match ended, Naveen-ul-Haq put up a cryptic story on his Instagram profile, tagging fellow Afghan cricketer Afsar Zazai and KKR and Afghanistan physio, Prashanth Panchada. It seemed to be a sly dig at RCB and Kohli for their defeat against Gujarat in the must-win game.
This is the latest addition to a long list of such cryptic social media posts by the two players. After the night of the game where the heated exchanges took place, both Naveen and Kohli shared posts that seemed to be clearly related to the incident.
Since then, Kohli has posted appreciation stories for opposition players when they have played against Lucknow, while Naveen has been in the news for a series of posts mango-related posts during games that RCB have lost.
During Lucknow’s last league game against KKR in Kolkata, the crowd chanted “Kohli, Kohli” every time Naveen came on to bowl, prompting him to make a crowd-silencing gesture at the fall of Rahmanullah Gurbaz’s wicket.
After RCB crashed out of the tournament after a defeat in their last match against Gujarat, Naveen posted another cryptic video of a man laughing (possibly at RCB’s exit from IPL 2023), adding another episode to this now long-running soap opera.
Had Bangalore beaten Gujarat, they would have faced Lucknow for a third time in IPL 2023, this time at the Eliminator in Chennai. After two hot-headed encounters this season, a third in the knockout stages would have had a lot of tension in the air, and was highly anticipated by fans in either camp as well as neutrals.
However, Bangalore were unable to close off the game, and Lucknow will face Mumbai in the Eliminator on May 24. The Kohli-Naveen banter, or whatever you decide to call it, will continue beyond IPL 2023.
Naveen Ul Haq's Instagram story. pic.twitter.com/J53mHrfQ4o
— Mufaddal Vohra (@mufaddal_vohra) May 21, 2023