Team India fans lashed out at vice-captain KL Rahul after his poor show in the second ODI against Bangladesh on Wednesday. Chasing Bangladesh's 271 to level the series, India needed KL Rahul to fire with the bat, especially after skipper Rohit Sharma couldn't open the batting due to a dislocated thumb on his left hand. However, when the Men in Blue needed KL Rahul to come good, he disappointed them once again, perishing for a shoddy 28-ball 14 runs.
Batting first, Bangladesh found themselves on the ropes at 6/69 with India dominating the proceedings with the assistance of Washington Sundar's three wickets.
However, just when it looked like India was running away with the game, a blistering 148-run stand between Mahmudullah and Mehidy Hasan Miraz brought Bangladesh back into the game.
After Mahmudullah perished for 77 in the 47th over, Mehidy Hasan Miraz gave the final push to the Bangladesh innings as 54 runs came off the last 23 balls. Mehidy Hasan Miraz remained unbeaten on 100 off 83 deliveries and was the main hero of the Bangladeshi comeback.
With Rohit Sharma unavailable to open the innings due to his injury, Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan walked out to bat for India. But the duo couldn't do much as they lost their wickets for 5 and 8 respectively. Subsequently, Washington Sundar also returned to the pavilion for 11 and India found themselves in a deep hole at 3/39.
KL Rahul then joined Shreyas Iyer out there in the middle but when people expected a good show from him, he got out for a mediocre score, leaving India's run chase in tatters.
A 107-run partnership between Shreyas Iyer and Axar Patel stopped the rut but the asking rate kept mounting. Moments later, Team India was on the verge of defeat with the score reading 213/8. Just when everyone thought that the match was over, there was another twist in the tale as an injured Rohit Sharma walked into bat.
Despite the injury concern, Rohit Sharma played a brave knock as he began to hit the ball all over the ground and brought the equation down to 20 runs at the end of the 49th over.
With 20 needed to win the game in the final over, Rohit Sharma clobbered the second and third deliveries for boundaries, however, what made the situation tough for him was the dot ball Mustafizur Rahman bowled on the fourth.
With two sixes required to win India the match, Rohit Sharma struck the fifth delivery of the 50th over for a maximum but then Mustafizur Rahman produced an unplayable yorker on the last ball to claim a stunning victory.
As India suffered their second consecutive series defeat in Bangladesh, the side's supporters took to Twitter to slam KL Rahul for his flop show in Dhaka.
While some declared him a “useless” cricketer, others urged the Indian cricket board to show him the door.
Enough Bro, just take a break and spare us #KLRahul
— Bhishma 🇮🇳 (@Bhishma_Swami) December 7, 2022
Useless players in team india.
Shardul wasting 23 balls for 7 runs.
Shreyas Iyer too wasted this golden opportunity to finish of a good match for India and for himself.
Most useless cricketer KL Rahul owns the Bcci.
Not good enough.
— arun (@SmnArun) December 7, 2022
Sad state of affairs regarding Indian cricket team can be realised from the fact that KL Rahul is considered as the captaincy candidate, doesn't have a single quality to be a captain!#BANvsIND #KLRahul𓃵
— Kiran Kadam (@Kkiran2008) December 7, 2022
In a parallel world KL Rahul never disappoints
— Saket (@unchantedS0UL) December 7, 2022
Meanwhile, former India opener Wasim Jaffer opined that KL Rahul's captaincy also played its part in India's defeat after Rohit Sharma's absence.
“We had good bowlers in Mohammed Siraj and Axar Patel. Umran Malik also did well, but Bangladesh had the answers to all the questions. They batted wonderfully well and rotated the strike nicely. It’s difficult when your captain is in (not on the field) and the keeper has to lead. KL Rahul is not a very experienced captain, especially at the international level. That may have had an effect, but that can’t be an excuse. You’ve got to give credit to Bangladesh,” Wasim Jaffer told ESPNcricinfo.
Ex-Pakistan captain Salman Butt, on the other hand, asked why KL Rahul didn't open the Indian innings and instead it was Virat Kohli who was promoted up the order.
“Rohit Sharma ko injury hui, toh obviously Virat Kohli ne open kiya. Aapke paas KL Rahul regular opener hain, vo kyun nahi gaye open karne? Ispe behes ye hogi ki unhone wicketkeeping ki hui thi. Duniya me bohot saare players hain jo wicketkeeping ke saath open karte hain. Adam Gilchrist karte hain, Kumar Sangakkara karte rahe, Quinton de Kock karte hain, kya ye utne fit nahi hain? Ajeeb si baat hai. (Rohit Sharma got injured and Virat Kohli opened. But you have a regular opener in KL Rahul, why did he not open? Some will argue that Rahul had kept wickets, but there have been a lot of players who have opened for the side after keeping wickets, like Gilchrist, Sangakkara and Quinton de Kock. Is Rahul not as fit as them? It's very weird),” Salman Butt said on his official YouTube channel.
“There's something wrong with the thought process or the role definition. Cheezein settled nahi hain. Aisa lagta hai ki practice chal rahi hai,” Salman Butt concluded.
The third and last ODI, a dead rubber, between India and Bangladesh will be played in Chattogram on Saturday.