Dinesh Karthik bounced back to form in style by notching up his highest IPL score of 97 not out (50b, 7x4, 9x6) in Kolkata Knight Riders' match against Rajasthan Royals at the Eden Gardens on Thursday.
KKR got itself in the rut in this edition with five successive defeats, with Karthik particularly coming under scrutiny for his batting and captaincy.
Karthik walked in to bat at the fall of Nitish Rana, with KKR on 42 for 3 in 8.2 overs. The wicketkeeper-batsman took control of the innings and smoked 60 runs off the last four overs to take his team to a competitive total of 175 for 6.
Karthik's knock of 50-ball 97*, studded with nine sixes and seven boundaries, was also the second highest score by a KKR batsman after Brendon McCullum's unbeaten 158 not out against Royal Challengers Bangalore in the opening match of the inaugural edition in 2008.
"I didn't know that this is my highest score. Feels good to contribute for the team. We felt batsmen who are in good form should bat more balls. It is important as a leader that you should step-up in tough situations," Karthik said at the end of KKR's innings.
Earlier, in order to end the slump of form of five players including Karthik, KKR management had asked them to go on a break to take their minds off cricket. Karthik and team-mate Robin Uthappa decided to make use of the time by training with KKR’s academy mentor Abhishek Nayar in Mumbai. The break surely worked for Karthik.
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