Once upon a time, a young man named Dinesh Karthik lost his way on the path to Indian superstardom because of some explosive batting. Not his, but that of M.S. Dhoni. India, with a continual love affair with all that is flamboyant, paid homage at the altar of a newborn star, and Karthik, himself young and of no mean talent, moved into the shadows.
On Wednesday night at the Kotla though, the man who’s been an on-again, off-again stopgap arrangement for India exploded in front of a capacity crowd that might just
forget about him before the next game. Yet, over this one-night stand, the magic all came from Karthik’s bat, even while the crowd lapped it up --- crazy, delirious, even hungry for more.
With Sehwag, Gambhir and Warner in their arsenal, Karthik isn’t exactly the stuff Delhi dreams are traditionally made of. But a 6 & 6 off Sumit Narwal and a sequence of 4, 4, 4 off Shaun Tait in the closing overs changed all that. He hit Narwal, who had snared dangermen Warner and Sehwag with perfect deliveries, for two straight sixes and then whacked Warne’s key striker, Tait, for those fours.
Till then, the match was evenly poised. At the end of 15 overs, the Daredevils were 120 for 4. It wasn’t looking enough.
But Karthik then switched gears and, with some support from Andrew MacDonald, wreaked havoc. The next five overs got the hosts 68 runs, while Karthik finished with 69 off 38 balls, out off the innings’ last ball. Just like Warner the other day, he tilted the balance in Delhi’s favour even before the next innings had begun.
And when it did, it was messy. Michael Lumb was back early, as were Faiz Fazal and Naman Ojha — the last beaten by a perfect leg-spinner from Amit Mishra, who was in fine form. When Yusuf Pathan was caught by blink-and-he’s-there Warner — he took four catches and effected a run out — it was all over. Shilpa Shetty’s smile was gone and her boys were 67 short, slowly ground into the Kotla dust.
Delhi Daredevils: Virender Sehwag, David Warner, Gautam Gambhir (c), Paul Collingwood, Umesh Yadav, Amit Mishra, Sarabit Ladda, Kader Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, Andrew McDonald, Parvez Maharoof.
Rajasthan Royals: Shane Warne (C), Faiz Fazal, Abhishek Jhunjhunwala, Michael Lumb, Sumit Narwal, Naman Ojha, Yusuf Pathan, Shaun Tait, Siddharth Trivedi, Adam Voges and Paras Dogra.
Umpires: Kumar Dharmasena and Simon Taufel.
TV Umpire:Sanjay Hazare.