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IPL 2022: Here’s Why Dinesh Karthik Is The Best Finisher Of The Season

Before the start of the IPL 2022, Dinesh Karthik was nowhere near the Indian T20I team, having last played for the country in 2019, and not many people were expecting his recall to the blues. 6 innings into the IPL, and not only he has made a strong case for a recall, but fans feel …


IPL 2022: Here’s Why Dinesh Karthik Is The Best Finisher Of The Season

Before the start of the IPL 2022, Dinesh Karthik was nowhere near the Indian T20I team, having last played for the country in 2019, and not many people were expecting his recall to the blues.

6 innings into the IPL, and not only he has made a strong case for a recall, but fans feel that Karthik has broken the door down on selectors and will likely be on the flight to Australia for the T20 World Cup later in the year.

So what has Dinesh Karthik done in these six innings that has got fans hailing him as the best finisher in IPL 2022?

IPL 2022: Here’s Why Dinesh Karthik Is The Best Finisher Of The Season
Image source: Twitter

First of all the raw numbers: 6 innings, 5 not outs, 197 runs (average also 197 since he’s been dismissed only once) and the most important aspect: his strike rate of 209! This strike rate of 36-year-old Dinesh Karthik is better than – um – a certain Andre Russell’s 197.

In fact among only batters – ignoring bowlers such as the likes of Pat Cummins and Daniel Sams whose sample size is really small – Dinesh Karthik has the second-best strike rate this season, after only Punjab’s Bhanuka Rajapaksa’s 230. That too, it should be noted, Rajapaksa has played half the games Karthik has and has scored 83 runs in 3 matches with that strike rate.

Dinesh Karthik has hit the fourth-most number of sixes – 14 – so far this season – behind overseas stars Jos Buttler, Andre Russell and Shimron Hetmyer.

Coming to his knocks – Dinesh Karthik has just been utterly sensational for RCB, performing the bailing-out-of-trouble role that AB de Villiers used to play until last season after which the South African retired. RCB found a perfect man in DK to replace ABD.

Dinesh Karthik started off the season with a 34* off 14 balls vs Punjab Kings adding the finishing touches to the innings and taking the total to 205, which, though, got chased down. Next up, he won the game vs Kolkata Knight Riders with a brilliant finishing knock, 14* off 7, taking RCB over the line in a tricky run-chase in the last over of the match.

IPL 2022: Here’s Why Dinesh Karthik Is The Best Finisher Of The Season

Against Rajasthan Royals, he finished another chase after RCB had suffered a middle-order collapse – scoring 44* off 23 balls, once again completing the run chase in the last over.

7* off 2 vs Mumbai Indians in a game that was already won, followed by 34 off 14 vs Chennai Super Kings when he kept the hopes of a miraculous run chase alive till the end.

And now the knock vs Delhi Capitals – 66* off 34 after RCB had been left in a pickle at 92/5.

Karthik for India too was simply magnificent before being dropped: since the start of 2017, in 23 T20Is, Karthik averaged 49 at a strike rate of 157. He was shockingly dropped from India’s T20I team after the debacle in the 2019 ODI World Cup semi-final!

Further, he is one of the only few Indian batters – you can really count them on fingers of one hand – who has the 360-degree range and the confidence to execute it at any stage of the match.

One of DK’s go-to shots against the pacers is the ramp – he gets his back leg on the leg side so as to invite the bowler to follow him on the leg side before shuffling quickly outside off, gets low and scoops it over the keeper or short fine leg. He now rarely fails to connect on his sweeps and reverse-sweeps; he’s adept in lofting over the covers and has a strong power game down the ground.

All this – his hand-eye coordination, his 360-degree range, middling the ball – is possible because he picks the lengths very early than most batters, is balanced when playing his shots with a still head and a calm mind. After receiving the Player of the Match award vs Rajasthan, Karthik said that his shot-making is “mostly premeditating” and he also understands the “need to be clear about where to target”.

IPL 2022: Here’s Why Dinesh Karthik Is The Best Finisher Of The Season
Image source: Disney+Hotstar

“I think I made a conscious effort this year to do justice to myself because the last year, I felt I could have done better. The way I trained was much better this time around. Credit to the person who trained with me. I’m making a conscious effort to tell myself that I’m not done yet,” Karthik said.

Karthik has now made it impossible for the selectors to ignore him and with a change in the captaincy and management, the Tamil Nadu keeper-batsman could have another go in the national side.

Given both Rishabh Pant and Hardik Pandya have, for now, taken up the middle-order roles for their respective IPL sides, where their strike rates have been lower this season compared to their previous seasons, this may just pave way for DK to rock back the Blue India jersey in the role not only which is best for him – but the role he’s best in the country in.