How AB de Villiers' fracture led to KB Arun Karthik's iconic RCB moment
- KB Arun Karthik's last-ball six for RCB during the 2011 CLT20 might not have happened if not for AB de Villiers' injury.
- Arun Karthik slammed a six off the final ball against the South Australian Redbacks to bring about a famous win for RCB.
In October 2011, the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru played host to one of the most exciting T20 matches in cricket history when the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) faced off against the Michael Klinger-led South Australian Redbacks in the Champions League T20.
The visitors had posted a massive score of 214/2 and the hosts had managed to take the chase all the way till the very last over, with RCB needing 13 runs from the last four balls.
A boundary from Sreenath Aravind, a brace and a bye later, KB Arun Karthik was on strike with RCB needing six to win off the final ball. As if destiny would have it no other way, Arun Karthik read the slower ball from Dan Christian and got under the delivery to deposit the ball way over the mid-wicket fence that triggered wild celebrations in the RCB camp.
Arun Karthik turned into an overnight hero for RCB that day, but as per the wicketkeeper-batsman's admission, lady luck had a thing or two to do with what he regards as one of his best T20 moments.
"I was not supposed to play that match. The day before the match we had a fielding session and AB de Villiers fractured his finger during the session. He had to leave to South Africa, he told me that I will play and win the match for the team," said Arun Karthik in an exclusive chat with Sportskeeda.
The famous last-ball six from Arun Karthik saw RCB make their way into the semifinals, where they registered a six-wicket win against the New South Wales to book their spot in the summit clash.
However, the Daniel Vettori-led side could not overcome a stiff challenge from the Mumbai Indians and fell to a 31-run loss, finishing as the runners-up in that edition of the Champions League T20 tournament.
"Picking up that win for RCB is one of my most memorable moments"
And, although it's been more than eight years since the famous last-ball six, Arun Karthik reminisced that famous moment as if it happened just yesterday, and fondly recalled a congratulatory message from de Villiers that he received after the match.
"After the match, the first message was from AB de Villiers, he wrote that he knew that I could pull off a win for the team. I didn't expect that (the message) from AB de Villiers," Arun Karthik added.
What's notable about that memorable win for RCB was that both the batsmen (Arun Karthik and Sreenath Aravind) were new to the crease, but they did not let the pressure get to them.
And, while Arun Karthik's credentials with the bat were certainly not questionable, Aravind was perceived more as a bowler than a handy lower order batsman. However, if not for the left-arm pacer's boundary off the third ball, RCB would have found themselves in muddled waters, and Arun Karthik shed light on how he backed Aravind to come good with the bat.
"I know Aravind's batting, I had seen him bat for Karnataka, he was always a contributor. I had seen him play in local tournaments here in Chennai. I knew that he could do it. He got a boundary off the first ball, a two off the next ball and we ran a bye. Everything just happened at the moment and for the last ball it all worked out. It's definitely a very memorable match," the former RCB star added.