It happened for the second time in Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018 when KL Rahul played a gem of an innings for his team but failed to take them over the line. Earlier it was against Rajasthan Royals (RR) when he scored 95* off 70 balls but Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) ended up on the losing side.
This time it was a more important game for Punjab and they lost the game against Mumbai Indians (MI) even after Rahul scored a 60-ball 94.
Mumbai beat Punjab by 3 runs in a last-ball thriller. It looked like KXIP can win the game when Rahul was at the crease. But a slower delivery by Jasprit Bumrah in the penultimate over was enough to seal the deal for MI.
After the game, Rahul and Hardik Pandya followed the trend of swapping jerseys in football. They exchanged jersey with each other in hope of carrying the tradition into cricket as well.
"We've seen this happening a lot in football. Hardik and me are good friends and I felt like it would be nice to collect some jerseys and to bring that tradition in cricket as well. We didn't speak about this earlier. As we were talking now he said 'give me your jersey' and he wanted my jersey so we exchanged it," Rahul said after the game.
The KXIP opener illuminating about the beautiful competition in IPL said, "That's the beauty of the IPL. We play really hard, we play aggressive cricket and we all want to win the game. Even though we play 300 days of cricket together but these two months when we play IPL there's no friendship once we step on the field. I want to take him down and he wants to take my wicket.
"That's how the IPL is it's just between me and him, all the 8 teams we compete very hard and that has what made this the biggest tournament in the world."
Rahul also spoke about his own knock and said, "In the first half of IPL I was hitting the ball well but I would get out on 50-60 and then I'd find myself sitting in the dugout, seeing my team struggle sometimes. As an opening, I wanted to take that extra responsibility.
"I knew if I bat 20 overs more often than not we would end up on the winning side and end up getting a big target. But unfortunately, the last two innings haven't gone my way or the team's way. But everything's a learning and I'm learning from these games. Hopefully, come a situation like this while playing for the country or any other tournament, I'm sure I'll have better answers."
.@hardikpandya7 and I want to bring jersey-swap ritual to cricket: @klrahul11 tells @Moulinparikh— IndianPremierLeague (@IPL) May 17, 2018
The in-form opener talks about the sweet gesture post a hard-fought game and their wish to popularise this act of sportsmanship.