"Munde baaro XXXXX". The expletives-laden shout by Kings XI Punjab's K L Rahul from behind the stumps (which was picked up by the stump microphone) has caught the attention of Kannadigas during the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL).
The Karnataka connection in KXIP is evident with K L Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Karun Nair, J Suchit, Krishnappa Gowtham and coach Anil Kumble all hailing from the southern state.
On Thursday, this Kannada-speaking contingent faces Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), the Bengaluru-based team which has only two players in its squad from Karnataka. The irony of the situation is not lost on the fans supporting the team and even though local players are not mandatory in the IPL, the game against Kings XI Punjab brings RCB's lack of Karnataka players into sharp focus.
RCB does have Devdutt Padikkal, who starred on his IPL debut against Sunrisers Hyderabad, and Pavan Deshpande, an off-break bowler, who are from Karnataka. But the team composition gradually shifted away from local talent ever since the club's Karnataka stars Rahul Dravid and Anil Kumble left the team.
K L Rahul, Mayank Agarwal and Karun Nair were all with RCB at some point in the last decade but the franchise opted to go in a different direction in its team composition. The trio will be looking to impress against their former team on Thursday.
Kings XI Punjab had lost their opening IPL 2020 encounter against Delhi Capitals by the slimmest of margins.
Kings XI head coach Anil Kumble, however, feels there were a lot of positives to take from the defeat and all the team needs to do is make sure they rectify the mistakes committed against Delhi Capitals when they take on RCB on Thursday evening.
"RCB has a very strong batting lineup with Virat (Kohli), AB (de Villiers) and Aaron Finch, (all) very experienced as well. Young (Devdutt) Padikkal batted really well for them in the last game. But we have our plans," Kumble said in a video posted on the official Twitter handle of Kings XI.
"I think we have the ability to put it across, so it all depends on the day who plays well. Our preparations over the last one month have been really good and we are very positive after the Delhi Capitals game as to what we need to do and what are the corrections that we need to make," he added.
Little separates the two teams as they have both won twelve times each in head-to-head encounters so far.