Reliving the Nidahas Trophy final in a video on the official Facebook Page of Kolkata Knight Riders, skipper Dinesh Karthik demystified the struggles he had faced that night in Sri Lanka. The two-time IPL champions start their campaign on March 24 against last year’s runner-ups Sunrisers Hyderabad.
As Ishant Sharma had pointed out recently in an interview, an Indian player’s reputation lives longer and larger through perception in the country and Karthik’s case isn’t very different. The veteran wicket-keeper batsman has come and gone in and out of the international circuit numerous times and neither does he have astronomical numbers to his name or is a part of some elite records club.
However, Indians would also remember him for his heroics on the evening of March 18, 2018. A largely second-string Indian side had reached the final of the Nidahas Trophy tournament, where they were facing Bangladesh. They could limit Bangladesh to a total of 167 as well but the sluggish surface made chasing really tricky.
Out of nowhere, India saw themselves stuck at 133 for 5 in the 18th over, needing 34 runs off 12 balls. With most of the batsmen gone India’s last hope was Karthik, who came on to take the crease with newbie Vijay Shankar on the other end.
“For us to win a match like that, from a situation that looked rather bleak was obviously special. A lot of young guys were playing and hence, it was special for the team. You know there’s was a bit of history to that game, the previous game between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh was really close and Bangladesh pulled it off. The Sri Lankan crowd was very upset and it felt as if everyone on the ground was supporting India,” said Karthik reliving that special night in the Facebook video, reported HT.
Karthik didn’t take a single ball to get through the grind going on a full onslaught facing Rubel Hossain hitting 22 runs in six balls. With just 13 needed off six balls, the match was very much in India’s hands, but Shankar made a mess of it by managing just five runs in three balls. The pressure had gotten the better of Karthik, who could also manage a single in between all of that before Shankar was caught in the long-off.
Six runs were needed off the last ball and Sarkar’s over-pitched delivery saw Karthik had punched it over extra cover for a flat six. Scoring 29 runs off eight balls, Karthik had single-handedly won India the match and he would forever be etched in everyone’s memory for that one knock.
“Really happy to come out of this performance. Really happy for the team. We’ve played really well in this tournament and to not win the final would have been unfortunate. It was not that easy to bat there,” Karthik had said after the match.
Karthik would be leading KKR for the second consecutive season after finishing third last season.
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