Stealing spotlight with one stroke

Stealing spotlight with one stroke

War cry: Arun Karthik (foreground) and S Arvind celebrate their win over Redbacks. DH PHOTO/ SRIKANTA SHARMA RNow, he’s a celebrity courtesy that stupendous strike off the 120th legal ball of the RCB innings that powered them to a two-wicket win over South Australian Redbacks. But then, Karthik could not have selected a better venue to play that shot.

It was at this very same stadium that the 25-year old right-hander from Walajapet in Chennai showed first glimpses of his immense talent. He smashed a 189-ball 143 for Tamil Nadu against Karnataka on his Ranji Trophy debut in 2008, and became a pillar of strength for TN along with Abhinav Mukund, M Vijay and S Badrinath.

Since then Karthik, who began his first-class career with a few List ‘A’ games for Badureliya Club in Sri Lanka, has been a permanent figure in the Tamil Nadu top-order, scoring heavy runs. In first-class cricket, he has so far scored 1232 runs from 22 matches at a healthy 41.06 with four hundreds and six fifties.

But even for a player so obviously talented as Karthik, hitting a six off the last ball might have been a hard task. Virat Kohli admitted that it was a no-hope situation in the Royal Challengers camp with six needed from the last ball.  “Honestly, I didn’t back him play that shot. We needed seven off two, and I told Ray Jennings: ‘Coach, if we get four off this ball, and two off the last ball, I think we’re going to make it’.

“But when we got a single I just closed my eyes. And he ended up hitting a six. None of us can still believe that. We have to watch this match all over again to believe what we have done,” Kohli said.

Karthik, who was bought from Chennai Super Kings before this year’s IPL, said he just kept a cool head. “I just kept it simple, I waited for it to arrive. I knew it was going to be a slower ball, so I waited and then gave it my all.”

The full-hearted effort paid off. Now, Karthik will no longer be a support cast.

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