Exactly two years ago, on March 18, 2018, Dinesh Karthik pulled off the impossible. He snatched victory from the jaws of defeat in the finals of the Nidahas Trophy Twenty20 tri-series against Bangladesh.
Rohit Sharma led India were in bad shape while chasing 167 for victory, reeling at 133 for 5 in the 18th over. 34 runs from the last two overs looked literally impossible for the Men in Blue. At crease, young all-rounder Vijay Shankar was feeling the pressure of the occasion. He was unable to put bat to ball, trying too hard for the big shots and deserting his normal style of play.
In walked Kolkata Knight Riders' skipper Dinesh Karthik to accompany Shankar at the fall of Manish Pandey on the last ball of the 18th over. A proven finisher in T20s for his state side Tamil Nadu and also in the IPL, Karthik gave the fans some hope. What followed were his finest 20 minutes in Indian colours. The last overs of this thrilling final would be etched in the memory of fans for a long time.
Karthik ripped apart Bangladesh in just the 8 deliveries that he faced, smashing 22 runs in the 19th over bowled by Rubel Hossain. The clarity and focus with which he went about his batting was something special to see. The 19th over onslaught - 6 4 6 . 2 4, brought the game within India's grasp. The final over was extremely tense. Soumya Sarkar was asked to bowl the crucial over. Sarkar did a great job to begin with as he just gave away just three runs off the first three balls.
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Everyone was predicting a Bangladesh win. One could sense the pressure of finishing the game on Shankar who somehow managed to score a boundary in the fourth delivery before getting out in the penultimate delivery of the match. Luckily for India, while the ball was being caught by Mehidy Hasan Miraz running in from long-on, the batsmen had crossed.
Karthik was on strike for the last ball - 5 needed to win off 1 ball.
Exhibiting enormous amount of calmness, he carved Sarkar over the cover boundary for six, finishing the game off in style. He was mobbed by his team-mates, lost in a blue huddle as ecstatic Indian players ran on to the pitch to celebrate. His knock of 29 runs of 8 balls, provided the fans one of the best finishes in T20I cricket in recent memory.
Brief Scores | Nidahas Twenty20 Tri-Series at Colombo (RPS)
Bangladesh 166/8 (20 overs)
Sabbir Rahman 77(50), Mahmudullah 21(16) | Y.Chahal 3/18 (4 overs)
India 168/6 (20 overs)
Rohit Sharma 56(42), Dinesh Karthik 29(8) | Rubel Hossain 2/35 (4 overs)