There has never been any doubt about the prodigious talent of Dinesh Karthik. The problem has been that over the years he himself has been his biggest enemy, throwing his wicket away to atrocious strokes after looking in great nick.
This wasn’t the case against Rajasthan Royals though, as he clobbered 69 from 38 balls to lead Delhi to a memorable 67-run win against Shane Warne’s army. Of course, the numbers don’t tell the true story. The significance of the knock has to be gauged from the circumstances under which it was scored.
Delhi were batting first and needed to set a decent score. Karthik was demoted down the order and four batsmen before him came and went, leaving the side reeling at 67 for 4 in the ninth over.
This is when he joined forces with skipper Gautam Gambhir, and the duo went about the rebuilding task with great gusto. Gambhir (43) was not in his elements, yet he ensured that he rotated the strike regulating and gave Karthik the opportunity to excel. At the start, even Karthik took some time to settle down, but once he opened up, there was no stopping him.
The beauty of his innings was the slog-free manner in which went about his task. Hardly, a single ball was cross-batted, proving the youngster had certainly learnt a lesson or two about the art of batsmanship. If anything, there were drives straight down the ground, and impressive cuts and pulls.
He was devastating towards the death, using the bottom hand lofting Siddharth Trivedi as well as Sumit Narval for sixes and set up Delhi’s highly challenging total of 188.
Without doubt Karthik played a match-winning knock. But, there were a couple of other extremely crucial contributions as well — none bigger that Farveez Maharoof’s, who claimed Rajasthan’s in-form men, Micheal Lumb and Faiz Fazal, in his very first over.
The Sri Lankan all-rounder was making a comeback into the team and had to fill the big shoes of Dirk Nannes. And boy, did he do his job well. Lumb was inexplicably deceived by a length delivery that did nothing extraordinary and held out, while Fazal was trapped by a slower one which came in and clearly beat him for lack of pace.
Interestingly, the other major contribution came from David Warner, not with the bat, but in the field. He plucked out four catches in the deep and also affected the run-out of Abhishek Jhunjhunwala.
For Rajasthan, things only looked somewhat brighter when Naman Ojha, at the top of the innings, and Yusuf Pathan, towards the middle, struck some hefty blows. Neither lasted long enough to make any kind of impact on the game though.
Things were far from gloomy for Rajasthan at the start of the match though. Warner was cleaned up by a perfect yorker from Sumit Narval, Virender Sehwag became the latest addition to fall victim to a short ball.
Soon, Paul Collingwood was stranded in the middle of the pitch, while Kedar Jadhav fell to Shane Warne’s guile. Rajasthan had everything going their way till Karthik showed his true colours.
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