Dinesh Karthik Brings back Ghosts of Johannesburg, 2012 CLT20

Dinesh Karthik brings back memories of Johannesburg 2012 as his finishing skills are in focus.

Facing the Chennai Super Kings, Dinesh Karthik walked out to bat nearly ten years ago with his team precariously placed. They were two down in the fifth over, Rohit Sharma was struggling and the required rate was touching ten. The spinners started applying their choke and Rohit Sharma fell pray as he was dismissed. Ambati Rayudu followed Rohit Sharma soon after as Dinesh Karthik was left with Kieron Pollard.

Despite struggling batters around him, Dinesh Karthik used his experience of facing Ravichandran Ashwin and carted CSK’s best bowler with ease. He took Ashwin on and made sure Ashwin went for 44 runs in his three overs. Like last night, Dinesh Karthik went on the attack and reached his fifty in quick time. He looked as though he could take the game away from Chennai on his own. No bowler was spared and the equation boiled down to 27 off the last two overs.

By this stage, Pollard was striking well, and Dinesh Karthik began the over nicely. He hoicked Ben Hilfenhaus over long-on too release some pressure as the equation came down to 19 off ten balls. The next ball though saw him get out in a freak manner. He tried slogging a slower one, missed, was hit on the pad and the ball rolled onto the stumps. His wicket changed the complexion of the game as Mumbai Indians lost a thriller.

Fast forward to ten years later, the Royal Challengers Bangalore were up against the Chennai Super Kings at Navi Mumbai. Dinesh Karthik was in red this time as opposed to blue back then. Faf Du Plessis was leading the team in red after playing in yellow in 2012 and dismissing Mumbai’s Ambati Rayudu who is now a Chennai Super Kings batter. Then there is Ravindra Jadeja who bowled the final over that night, absorbing all the pressure to take CSK home in a thrilling encounter that had no say in the tournament as both sides were already eliminated.

Last nights encounter had five players who were a part of the CLT20 encounter and each of them may have had a brief glimpse of Dinesh Karthik’s Johannesburg efforts as he was going well in Navi Mumbai. He walked in with a target of 217 ahead of him. His side was five down and needed another 107 runs off 46 balls. With a daunting task ahead, Dinesh Karthik took Chennai back down the memory lane by about ten years. He went after the bowlers, took the game deep and kept Bangalore in contention. Last time he had Pollard for support and this time it was Shahbaz Ahmed.

The equation came down to a manageable 48 off eighteen and all of a sudden it was anybody’s game. Sadly, Dinesh Karthik couldn’t continue with his heroics. Like last time, Dinesh Karthik was out in an unfortunate manner. He skied one, and the distance looked good but was marginally short as Ravindra Jadeja held on just inside the boundary. As was the story ten years ago, Dinesh Karthik failed to take his side over the line again, after keeping them in contention and raising hopes of a victory.

It was still a good inning nevertheless as Dinesh Karthik continues his good tournament. He was dismissed for the first time this season, is batting with an incredible strike rate, and is finishing games off well. His role is clear as Dinesh Karthik walks in to bat as late as possible with the license to go for his shots. With Dinesh Karthik batting lower down the order, RCB has the additional license to go well at the top as they have some talented players and a deeper line-up.

The veteran is off to a brilliant start in the tournament, finishing games and calculating run-chases with ease. He is making statements and looks eager to put his name up again with some big tournaments coming up. Having played since the inception of IPL, Dinesh Karthik has been a huge part of the tournament, missing just one game in the first season for his team, which is a record of its own. Additionally, he was also the Indian player to win a man of the match award in T20I.

He has already turned the clock back on multiple occasions this season and is growing well as a finisher. With a long way to go, there may be some more moments where Dinesh Karthik takes fans down memory lane as he did yesterday in Navi Mumbai.