Memes on the alleged rift within the Mumbai Indians (MI) camp after an ugly incident in the team's clash with the Punjab Kings (PBKS) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) went viral on the internet on Thursday.


The episode happened during the Punjab Kings' run chase when the game was drifting away from the Mumbai Indians.

After putting 192/7 on the board and rattling the opposition's top order, thanks to Jasprit Bumrah's two early wickets, Mumbai Indians were on course to secure a comprehensive win over the hosts before Ashutosh Sharma's sensational knock of 61 off 28 balls put the Punjab Kings back in contention.

As the visitors began to lose their grip on the game, Rohit Sharma took over captaincy duties from Hardik Pandya and even when he returned to the field, it was the former who was largely involved in setting up the fields for the Punjab Kings' batters.

During this period, it appeared like Mumbai Indians bowler Akash Madhwal ignored Hardik Pandya and seemed to have been taking instructions from Rohit Sharma despite Hardik Pandya standing beside him.

Akash Madhwal even earned praise on social media for “ignoring” Hardik Pandya and listening to the advice of Rohit Sharma during the match against the Punjab Kings.

The Gujarat-born cricketer's trolling on X came after his poor leadership once again put the Mumbai Indians on the verge of defeat against the Punjab Kings before Rohit Sharma's marshaling of the resources on the field turned the tide in their favor as the former five-time champions completed a 9-run triumph in Mohali.

One must not forget that Hardik Pandya's appointment as the leader of the Mumbai Indians has been controversial, to say the least.

After the Mumbai-based franchise announced the sacking of their most successful captain Rohit Sharma, with Hardik Pandya taking over from him in the wake of his arrival from Gujarat Titans, fans reacted to the development so much so that the team lost millions of followers across social media.

While the Mumbai Indians management has backed Hardik Pandya to the hilt, the results of the side in the ongoing IPL haven't gone his way, with the former five-time champions languishing in the bottom four on the table.

Former cricketers have not only raised questions about Hardik Pandya's captaincy but his poor batting and bowling have put extra pressure on him.

Hardik Pandya's overall figures in the IPL 2024 don't look impressive at all – he's managed to score only 141 runs at a mediocre average of 23.50 with the highest score of 39 in the seven matches he's played in the tournament so far.

In the bowling department, the Gujarat-born all-rounder has hardly bowled and when he has taken up the ball, he has gone for plenty of runs.

He has picked just four wickets in seven games but what would be worrying the Mumbai Indians management is his economy rate. In the 15 overs, Hardik Pandya has bowled, he has been virtually clobbered by opposition batters, allowing them to cherry-pick him for sixes and boundaries. The result is that he has given away runs at 11 per over.

Earlier this week, Hardik Pandya came up with a pathetic performance with the ball against the Chennai Super Kings (CSK).

Hardik Pandya's below-par bowling, particularly against MS Dhoni during the concluding stages of their innings was even slammed by the legendary Sunil Gavaskar.

Interestingly, Hardik Pandya bowled the final over of CSK's innings to his mentor and ex-India captain MS Dhoni, who belted him for three consecutive sixes. Eventually, MS Dhoni's maximums proved to be the difference between the two sides, as CSK won the game by 20 runs.

“Probably the worst kind of bowling that I've seen for a long, long time. It almost looks like I've had this embrace with my hero. I've got a bowling kind of deliveries that he's gonna hit for sixes. One 6 is fine. The next one again a length ball when you know that this batter is looking for a length ball to hit. The third ball again, a full toss on the leg side and he's looking for it and hits it for a 6. Absolutely ordinary bowling, ordinary captaincy,” Sunil Gavaskar said on Star Sports.

In the match against the Punjab Kings, the 30-year-old all-rounder produced yet another below-par performance.

Hardik Pandya once again failed to impress with the bat as he lost his wicket for 10 off 6 deliveries when his team needed to accelerate to get past a score of 200 though he had a decent outing with the ball, having returned with figures of 1/33 in his four overs.

Nonetheless, the one good thing that happened to Hardik Pandya on Thursday was that his team won the last-over thriller with Gerald Coetzee picking up the wicket of the dangerous Ashutosh Singh in the 18th over to end the home team's hopes of beating Mumbai Indians.