Karthik plays his role to perfection

Dinesh Karthik laid Mumbai Indians low with his brilliant knock.-S. SUBRAMANIUM

A defeat would have meant the end of the road for Delhi Daredevils. But Dinesh Karthik was in no mood to relent as he chose the occasion to make a strong statement about his abilities, writes Vijay Lokapally.

It was a memorable night for Dinesh Karthik, who, until then, had had an average Indian Premier League. This exciting stroke-player lit up the Ferozeshah Kotla with a flurry of shots that left Mumbai Indians stunned and the audience in a trance. His match-winning performance for Delhi Daredevils came at a time when it was much needed, giving the team a ray of hope. A defeat that night would have meant the end of the road the team. But Karthik chose the occasion to make a s trong statement about his abilities.

He confessed: “It was one of my lucky days. I tried many shots and they all came off. It was one of those days and I am glad it came when the team wanted me to go out and do my job. I believe in myself and I believe in God. He knows when to give and when He gives, He gives in plenty.”

He was modest about his wonderful knock that laid the cocky Mumbai Indians low. “It was a total team effort. We were in the reckoning once we had the two partnerships (Karthik with Manoj Tiwary and Farveez Maharoof) going. We knew the equation would swing our way with some big shots and we kept getting our boundaries,” said Karthik, who was declared the Man of the Match.

Karthik had a specific role to play. Tiwary did his part too. But it was Maharoof who sealed the contest with a couple of big shots at the right time. “He has class and we knew he would deliver in crunch situations. His experience helped us a lot,” said skipper Virender Sehwag of the Sri Lankan all-rounder.

Mumbai came with lot of fanfare. It would have been ironic had Ashish Nehra, who bowled the last over when Delhi needed eight runs to win, swung it Mumbai’s way. “It feels odd bowling to my statemates,” Nehra had said on the eve of the match. He nearly pulled it off before Maharoof slammed him for two boundaries.

Sanath Jayasuriya gave Mumbai the platform to dictate with a blazing knock. Sachin Tendulkar’s dismissal was greeted with a thunderous response from the packed audience but nothing matched Jayasuriya’s departure to crafty leg-spinner Amit Mishra, who again held his nerve.

The success of the middle-order was the feature of Delhi’s victory. Once again the team came good with a collective effort and signed off its final appearance at the Ferozeshah Kotla in style, winning the pulsating contest off the penultimate ball.

THE SCORES

Delhi Daredevils v Mumbai Indians, Ferozeshah Kotla, Delhi, May 24, 2008.

Result: Delhi Daredevils won by five wickets.

Mumbai Indians 176 for eight in 20 overs (S. Jayasuriya 66, R. Uthappa 46 not out, V. Y. Mahesh four for 36) lost to Delhi Daredevils 179 for five in 19.5 overs (S. Dhawan 27, M. Tiwary 36, D. Karthik 56 not out, F. Maharoof 20 not out, D. Smith two for 22).