After India’s loss to Australia in the World Cup semi-final, there have been plenty of Twitter taunts and WhatsApp jokes, and social media is abuzz with posts both backing and panning the Indian team.

Some of the barbs are very funny just like some of the jokes doing the rounds before the match and indicate that many creative minds spent a great deal of time coining slogans and verses and drawing little cartoons to make us laugh.

Jest and jokes are, to use the age-old expression, part of the game. The social media frenzy makes them travel fast and wide, and soon, before you know it, everybody is tweeting and re-tweeting swipes and jibes.

It is hugely unfair, though, to attack Virat Kohli’s girlfriend, Anushka Sharma, after the loss. The vicious invective against the actor is totally uncalled for.

Even at its most basic level, it is shocking for attackers on social media to actually blame Anushka for Virat’s poor show in the semi-final.

So many Australians had their wives and girlfriends in the stands. Is Anushka taking flak because she is an actor? Or, is it because she is Virat’s girlfriend and not his wife? Would she be the target of the vilest taunts if she were his wife? Do the jokes stem from the mindset wherein people feel it is okay to drag down and demean a girlfriend because the couple is not bound in matrimony?

Disappointment after the huge loss, especially after a great run in the lead up the semi-final, is understandable. Yet, to find a soft target in Anushka and pile up one’s frustrations at her door is unfair. It smacks of misogyny, backwardness and could also fall in the territory of cyber-bullying.

Both Virat and Anushka are public figures and so, Anushka is probably subjected to greater scrutiny than, maybe, another cricketer’s wife or girlfriend. But to troll her mercilessly to vent anger and frustration for the loss is immature and vicious.

It is important to remember that India’s apo-Kohli-pse was not because of Anushka, but because Australia played better cricket yesterday. Dish out the humour, but hold the bullying.