India allrounder Hardik Pandya became the first player in Indian Premier League 2020 in the UAE to take a knee to show support to the Black Lives Matter movement. Pandya made the gesture during Mumbai Indians’ IPL 2020 match against Rajasthan Royals in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.
The right-handed batsman smashed an unbeaten-60 runs in 21 balls in the match to help MI’s total to 195/5 in 20 overs. On the penultimate ball of Mumbai’s innings, Pandya struck a six, and then sat down on one knee and raised his right arm after reaching half-century in the match. Pandya signalled towards the Mumbai Indians dugout where MI stand-in captain Kieron Pollard responded with a raised right fist. (IPL 2020 Full Coverage)
The 26-year-old, on Monday, also tweeted an image of himself taking the knee with the caption #BlackLivesMatter.
Despite Pandya’s heroics with the bat, Mumbai Indians lost to Rajasthan Royals by 8 wickets with Ben Stokes smashing an unbeaten-100 and Sanju Samson slamming an unbeaten half century.
“I thought they batted well. Hardik brought us straight back in the game with that knock at the halfway stage. We could have got a couple of wickets more, but the wicket ended up becoming a little better. Their spinners got some help from the pitch, but our spinners couldn’t do that. At the end of the day, someone wins, someone loses,” Pollard said after the match.
“We just have to come out and play good cricket. Our bowlers tried, but well played to the opposition. He (Hardik) went out and scored 60* off 21, an innings like that and we end up on the losing side, that’s just tough luck,” he added.
MI will next face off against RCB on Wednesday.