By B. Shrikant
Nagpur, Sep 24 (IANS): When Dinesh Karthik took first strike in the 2nd T20I of the three-match series against Australia on Friday night, India needed nine runs from the last over to win the eight-over-a-side slugfest.
Australia had scored 90/5 in their eight overs and India were 82/4 in response at the end of the seventh over. In normal situations, any newcomer would have taken a single to give the strike to skipper Rohit Sharma, who was well set at the other end with a 20-ball 46.
Dinesh Karthik, DK as he is popularly known and is currently among the best finishers in the T20 game, has enough experience of batting in such situations and blasted a thundering six and followed it with a boundary to seal a memorable victory for India.
It was not an easy pitch and to smash such big shots off a bowler like Sean Abbott is no mean feat. DK has been there and done that many times. He abilities as a finisher seem to have given a second wind to his career and at the age of 37, he had a brilliant IPL 2022 edition and has made it back to the Indian team. He could be a vital cog in the wheel for India at the T20 World Cup.
On Friday, DK revealed how he prepares for such eventualities in which he may have to set in to bat with only 6-7 deliveries to play and score the maximum runs possible in that situation.
He said he does "scenario practice" in which he sets himself a target like 20 runs from six balls and then goes about achieving it.
"Look, over a period of time, I have been practicing for this. I have been doing this for RCB (Royal Challengers Bangalore) now and am happy to be doing it here also. It's a consistent routine over time and in the off-time," Dinesh Karthik said in the post-match press conference after India's six-wicket win against Australia at the Vidarbha Cricket Association (VCA) Stadium at Jamtha near here.
He said among the specific training, he does the scenario practice and training specific to the situations so as to keep himself ready for blasting 30-40-odd runs in quick time.
"I do a lot of scenario practices and Vikram paaji (Vikram Rathour, batting consultant) and Rahul bhai (Rahul Dravid, head coach), have been accommodative of how I practice, which shots I want to practice. So, I have been very specific, I don't practice too much and I try and keep it as specific as possible," said DK after the match on Friday.
Also, to help him perfect his art of scoring quick runs in very few balls, the Indian think-tank promote him in the batting order to help him with his T20 World Cup preparations.
Skipper Sharma said they promoted Karthik up the order and sent him ahead of Rishabh Pant so as to give him some time in the middle.
About his two-ball heroics, Karthik said he was expecting Hazlewood to bowl to him in the final over but Abbott was given the eighth over.
"I thought Josh Hazlewood would bowl but I came up with my plan for Sams. It's all about executing on the day. I always pride myself on finishing it off. Two people shone today. Rohit with the bat and Axar with the ball. From a series standpoint, it is great to go from Hyderabad 1-1," said Kartik.