Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) skipper Faf du Plessis attributed his team’s win over Rajasthan Royals (RR) from a near-hopeless situation to Dinesh Karthik’s calm approach and the innings of character that he played at the Wankhede Stadium on Tuesday night.
Chasing RR’s 169, RCB were 4/62 at one stage, which became 5/87 soon, but Karthik’s unbeaten 44 off 23 deliveries and an equally belligerent 45 from Shahbaz Ahmed saw the Bengaluru franchise win by four wickets with five balls to spare.
Du Plessis gave RCB a solid start with a 20-ball 29, but two of their former players — Yuzvendra Chahal and Navdeep Saini — wrecked havoc and had the Bengaluru outfit on the mat. However, the batting master-class from Shahbaz and Karthik made the impossible happen.
Du Plessis was effusive in his praise of Karthik, saying the wicketkeeper-batter had pulled a rabbit out of the hat.
“That’s one out of the hat. To pull it out of nowhere you need some good characters, and DK (Dinesh Karthik) is as big a character as you can get. That calmness towards the end allows others to just come in,” said du Plessis.
The South African added that Jos Buttler’s (70 not out off 47 balls) last-over belligerence had made the chase difficult for RCB.
“I think we bowled really well up until the 19th, then Jos (Buttler) got some shots in with the bowlers under pressure. (He) got them (RR) a score just above par. We didn’t get the start we needed; Yuzi (Chahal) came in and bowled well. But the belief we have, guys can come in and win games from nowhere.
“He’s (Shahbaz) a skinny guy but he hits a long way, and he’s got a clear game plan. I believe he’ll play a big part with the ball too,” opined du Plessis.
Karthik, who was adjudged as the player of the match, said, “I made a conscious effort to do justice to myself. Felt I could have done better in the last few years. The way I’ve trained has been different. I was telling myself I’m not done yet.
“I have a goal and I want to achieve something. We needed 12 runs an over, so you need to figure out what to do. Stay calm, know your game and who you can take on. Made an effort to play white-ball cricket, practice matches, and scenarios. Those are the hours you put in when no one sees.
“The real work is done in the lead-up, which is what I’ll give credit to. You have to premeditate in T20, but if it’s not there, you have to have the ability to change the shot,” added Karthik.
RCB will next play Mumbai Indians in Pune on April 9.