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Saturday, July 02, 2022

PBKS-RCB emotional roller-coaster: Dinesh Karthik goes from Clark Kent to Superman

Punjab Kings defeat Royal Challengers Bangalore by 5 wickets.

By: Express News Service |
Updated: March 28, 2022 9:57:40 am
Dinesh Karthik of Royal Challengers Bangalore plays a shot in the match against Punjab Kings. (Photo by Rahul Gulati / Sportzpics for IPL)

TV pundit to Master Finisher

A few months back during India’s tour to England, Dinesh Karthik, with notes in his hands, made Virat Kohli sit on the Nottingham turf for a long, insightful interview. It wasn’t a Hard Talk like grilling but Karthik did ask tough questions to the then skipper. Making his debut as a Sky Sports pundit, Karthik won English hearts as much for his TMS-like serious-casual tone as for his outrageously floral shirts. He was the ‘Find of the tour’. Having made the successful switch, you thought the one-time India keeper wouldn’t be seen behind the stumps ever. The assumption proved wrong. His 14-ball 32 in the final three overs for RCB was the cherry on the cake that the old and new skippers — Kohli and Faf du Plessis — had diligently baked. Every time Karthik sent the ball soaring — he hit three sixes — Kohli would smile, applaud and later put his arm around him and walk him to the dressing room. RCB had a finisher, Karthik was the man. From asking questions, the pundit was providing answers.

Faf’s fab scoop

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Faf Du Plessis, captain of Royal Challengers Bangalore, bats against Punjab Kings on Sunday. (Photo by Deepak Malik / Sportzpics for IPL)

A South African unfurling a paddle-sweep/scoop, more often than not, the first name that taps on your tongue is that of AB de Villiers. Few execute the shot as smoothly or as serenely as AB. But his schoolmate, “brother for life” and ex-teammate, Faf du Plessis is not too far behind. He quite likes the paddle variants — sweep in Tests and scoops in T20s, even though he is sometimes prone to self-destructing (like guiding it to the stumps rather than the gaps, most comically in a PSL game last year). But the stroke often goes under-appreciated or unseen. Finally, it took the absence of AB to admire the brilliance of Faf’s paddles. He reeled out a magnificent one against Odean Smith — a shuffle across the stumps, a tidy squat in tune with the dipping ball and a gentle flap of his bat when the ball was almost past him, and the ball looped into the hands of his joyous teammates in the dug-out. The Mumbai humidity was making him sweat bucketful, but when paddling that ball, he hardly seemed to break a sweat. Maybe, it takes the absence of AB to fully appreciate the stroke-making sparkle of his brother for life Faf.

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