Chennai Super Kings (CSK) finally broke their losing streak as the Ravindra Jadeja-led side beat Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) to resgister their first win of the season on Tuesday.
Chennai rode on opener Robin Uthappa's blazing 88 and Shivam Dube's 95 to post a challenging 216/4 at the D.Y. Patil Stadium. In replyr, RCB was restricted to 193/9.
Uthappa and Dube rained sixes. Theekshana's bowled sublimely and Rayudu's stunning one-handed catch capped off a brilliant night of cricketing action. However, despite the loss, RCB will be happy with the way Dinesh Karthik dazzled, once again when the chips were down.
Chasing a tall target, Bangalore needed a quick start. However, Chennai made early breakthroughs to put the opposition under pressure. Early loss of wickets meant, the run-rate started to climb with the yellow outfit tightening the match. But, there stood an unfazed Karthik, who gave Bangalore a glimmer of hope.
Karthik coming to bat at No.7 threatened to snatch the game away from Chennai. However, Jadeja & Co. survived to register first points on the board.
- Karthik 2.0 -
Karthik has been nothing but a revelation this IPL. With a score of 34 from just 14 balls and hammering at a strike rate of 242.86, the RCB wicket-keeper managed to halt celebrations briefly in the CSK camp. Although Karthik couldn't help RCB cross the line, his performance was praise worthy.
This was not the first time when Karthik emerged as a game-changer in the T20 format.
Karthik made his T20 debut in 2006 when India toured South Africa - this was India's first international T20 match as well - and has played 32 games for India. A veteran of 218 IPL games, the former KKR skipper is slowly turning out to be a showstopper.
On his T20I debut, South Africa set India a target of 126 runs. Karthik came to bat at No.5 in the 12th over with India's score at 71/3. Karthik's and Dinesh Mongia forged a 37-run partnership. Later, Karthik with Suresh Raina helped India win the match by 6 wickets. The Tamil Nadu wicketkeeper-batsman was named the player of the match for his valuable contribution of 31 off 28 balls with 3 fours and a six.
Whenever there is a discussion about Nidahas trophy final between India and Bangladesh in 2018, Karthik's match-winning knock of 29 runs in 8 balls with 3 sixes and 2 boundaries is remembered.
Karthik came to bat at No. 7 when the match was inclined in Bangladesh's favour. India needed 34 runs in 12 balls with Rubel Hussain steaming in to bowl the 19th over. Rubel had taken two wickets and given 13 runs in three overs. If Bangladesh thought they had the match in their pocket, Karthik had other plans.
Karthik began with six in the first ball, followed it up with a boundary and then smacked Rubel into the stands to fetch 22 runs in the over. In the final over, India needed 5 off the last ball and a flat six over extra cover sealed the deal as Karthik walked back to a standing ovation.
In the 11th edition of IPL, Karthik was named the captain of Kolkata Knight Riders. He demonstrated his talent and gave justice to his assigned role of finisher. He scored 498 runs, his second-best aggregate after the 2013 edition. In the eliminator between KKR and RR, Rahane-led Royals chose to bowl first.
KKR were struggling at 51/4 in 8 overs. Karthik stepped forward and made 52 off 38 balls. His valuable partnerships with Shubman Gill and Andre Russell helped KKR post a target of 170. Eventually, the Knight Riders won the match by 25 runs.
Fast forward to the ongoing 15th edition of IPL where his team RCB has played 5 matches so far and won 3 among them, Karthik has proved his worth by his quality batting. His batting pyrotechnics where he scored an amazing 44 off 23 balls stunned Rajasthan Royals and gave Bangalore a thrilling win.
With the ICC T20 World Cup 2022 scheduled to be held in Australia later this year, Karthik is making a strong case for himself with his finishing prowess. With an unbeaten 44 as his highest at a brilliant strike-rate of 218.33, Karthik if off the blocks in a flash.
Having found the sweet spot, the wicketkeeper-batsman would like to continue the same form and win games for RCB. And in the process, might also earn a ticket to Down Under.