Mumbai, April 17 (MondayMirror.com) Dinesh Karthik came in to bat in Match 27 against Delhi Capitals with Royal Challengers Bangalore struggling at 92/5 at the Wankhede Stadium.
Glenn Maxwell was back in the dugout after scoring an attacking 55 and Shadab Ahmed was holding fort at the other end.
With half the side back in the dressing room with the score less than 100, a lot depended on Karthik, the seasoned pro who is re-inventing himself as a finisher in IPL 2022, to propel the team to a defendable score.
The 36-year-old wicket-keeper batter from Chennai blasted an unbeaten 66 off 34 deliveries and added 97 runs for the unfinished sixth-wicket partnership with Shahbaz Ahmad (32 not out off 21 balls) to guide RCB to 189/5 in 20 overs — a total that looked difficult considering the situation in which Karthik had walked in.
He and Shahbaz hammered 69 runs in the last four overs. What was heartening for all RCB fans was his murderous attack on Bangladesh pacer Mustafizur Rahman in the 18th over that fetched him 28 runs, setting the platform for Royal Challengers’ 16-run win eventually.
Karthik started the assault with three successive fours — the first an outside edge between the keeper and short third match, shuffling away; the second an improvised reverse-pull off a cutter pitched short and the third an orthodox cover drive between mid-off and extra cover.
Then followed two big sixes — lofted over long-on and a huge one over long-off on an attempted yorker. The last delivery of the over was despatched over mid-off for a superb four.
The target of 190 looked stiff but experts were not writing Delhi Capitals off for the simple reason that the pitch was still fry and firm with a green tinge and was still good for batting. The RCB bowlers also had to deal with the dew, which leaves the ball soaking wet.
Enter Josh Hazlewood, who sealed the issue in favour of Royal Challengers with a superb 3/28 off four overs. What broke the camel’s back was a two-wicket burst in the 15th over that brought down Delhi from 112/3 to 115/5.
With opener David Warner (66 off 38) back in the dugout after giving Delhi a brilliant start, their hopes depended on skipper Rishabh Pant. They lost Mitchell Marsh — runs out for 14 off 24 on the last ball of the 14th over, and just when Pant was hoping for a good partnership with Rovman Powell, Hazlewood struck his first blow.
He bowled a leg-cutter wide on the fifth stump and Powell chased it, giving a faint edge behind to Karthik. Hazlewood sent back Lalit Yadav four balls later, getting him to pull a short one with a fielder at deep square leg ready to pouch it. Yadav followed the script perfectly, pulling down the throat of Suyash Prabhudessai.
That two-wicket burst denied Pant the help of his last two recognised batters and the Delhi Capitals’ skipper holed out soon, trying to play a lone hand. Delhi Capitals eventually finished with 173/7 in 20 overs, slumping to their third defeat in five matches.