Dinesh Karthik did the unthinkable by hitting the most memorable hit of his 14-year long international career and powering India to a sensational win against Bangladesh in the final of the 2018 Nidahas T20 tri-series. The men in blue needed 5 runs to win off the last ball of the innings and Karthik hit a brilliant flat six over extra cover that skimmed over the rope to script a historic win for India.
Mustafizur Rahman bowled a brilliant 18th over to give Bangladesh the upper hand in the final. He gave just a single off his six balls and picked up the crucial wicket of Manish Pandey. India had found themselves in a tricky situation and were out of the contest when they needed 34 runs off the last two overs. Coming in to bat at No.7, Karthik single-handedly changed the reflection of the match with his unbeaten 29-run cameo off just 8 balls that sealed the victory for the Indians.
First, he took 22 runs off the Ruben Hossain 19th over with shots of 6,4,6,0,2,4 to set up the match for India. He then hit Soumya Sarkar for a six over the covers off the last ball of the match that helped the Indian team maintain their unbeaten run against Bangladesh in the shortest format. Sarkar who had done really well till then suddenly lost the plot and served up an overpitched delivery outside off which Karthik crashed that lofted drive over the boundary. For many, this shot will be etched in every Indian's memory forever - may be on par with MSD's loft off Kulasekara on that magical Mumbai night on 2nd April 2011.
Speaking at the post-match conference, the 32-year old Karthik said: "Really happy to come out of this performance, really happy for the team - young bunch of boys. We have played some good cricket throughout this tournament and had we not won this final, wouldn't have done justice to the way we have played this tournament."
"I realised that it wasn't that easy to bat, the way Mustafizur bowled that over, all I needed to do was to go for boundaries as soon as I went in. Touchwood some of the balls landed in a good place for me to hit a shot.," Karthik added.
The Chennai-born batsman also spoke about how he was practising such shots in the shorter format. He said, " I have been practising this - where I hold a good base and swing through the line well and it came off well today."
He also mentioned that how hard it is to find a place in the playing XI, Karthik said, "I have been saying this over and over again; the Indian team right now is a tough place to get an opportunity but once you get it - you got to make the best use of the opportunity."
"Credit to the backroom staff - they have always given me the confidence and I'm happy where I'm," Karthik signed off.
Earlier, captain Rohit Sharma scored 56 off 42 balls to keep India in the hunt for the large part of the chase, surprised one and all with his decision of sending Vijay Shankar ahead of Karthik and the all-rounder appeared all at sea during his innings of 17 off 19 balls, putting India's chase in big jeopardy.