OTD in 2018: Karthik's 8-Ball Blitz Bludgeoned Bangladesh in Nidahas Final
Dinesh Karthik scored an unbeaten eight-ball 29 (Twitter)
On this day, five years ago, in a spectacular display of grit and determination, Dinesh Karthik's last-ball heroics in the final of the Nidahas Trophy against Bangladesh can be likened to a phoenix rising from the ashes.
The Indian wicket-keeper batsman snatched victory from the jaws of defeat with an unbeaten eight-ball blitz of 29 runs, including two fours and three sixes, to take the Rohit Sharma-led side home.
Bangladesh had set a challenging target of 166 runs in their allotted 20 overs, a score that India found hard to chase. The Men in Blue were languishing at 98 for the loss of four wickets, with the required run-rate increasing by the minute.
As the game wore on, the pressure on India kept mounting with every over. The wicket of Manish Pandey in the 18th over was a massive blow to India's hopes, further adding to the already high-pressure situation. To make matters worse, Vijay Shankar's sluggish innings only increased the required run-rate, leaving India in a precarious position.
It was a moment when the team needed someone to step up and take charge, to steer them towards victory. But as they say, ‘cometh the hour, cometh the man’. In walked Karthik, ready to take on the Bangladesh bowling attack with all guns blazing. He was a man on a mission, determined to leave his mark on the game. His eight-ball blitz was a masterclass in hitting, showcasing his ability to improvise and adapt to the situation.
The Tamil Nadu based cricketer's innings was a game-changer, a turning point that swung the game in India's favor. With 34 runs still needed of the last two overs, he hammered the first three balls of the penultimate over to the boundary, scoring 22 runs that brought India back into the game.
India needed 12 runs off the final over but they managed to fetch only three runs off the first three balls. A struggling Shankar managed to fetch a four off the fourth ball but was caught at long off the following ball, thus putting an end to a dismal knock. However, the batsmen had crossed over which brought Karthik on strike to face the last ball.
The moment was ripe for Karthik to live out his childhood fantasy of hitting the final delivery for a six and taking India past the line. And boy, did he deliver! The full-length delivery outside off was no match for the stumper's bat-speed and power, as he dispatched it for a flat six over covers.
He had donned the cloak of a finisher for India and lived out a fantasy that he had nurtured since he was a child, inspired by Javed Miandad's last ball six off Chetan Sharma in the Austral-Asia Cup final at Sharjah in 1986.
The veteran wicketkeeper's innings was a testament to his fighting spirit and never-say-die attitude. It was a reminder that cricket, like life, is a game of uncertainties, where victory and defeat are just a matter of moments. It was a game that will be remembered for a long time, a thrilling finish that left everyone on the edge of their seats.