It was a neat innings, short yet defining, for Dinesh Karthik to feel happy about. “Significant surely because it helped the team win”, said the modest wicket-keeper-batsman on his match-winning performance of 69 for Delhi Daredevils on Wednesday night against Rajasthan Royals.

The fact that it came at a most appropriate stage meant Karthik was a confident man for the remaining encounters in the Indian Premier League.

“It was not the best pitch to score on. The ball was not really coming on to the bat. The surface was slow”, confessed Delhi Daredevils skipper Gautam Gambhir. So, batting needed a bit of innovation and modification, not very technical but based on the basics. “One had to play the shot in full, not half-hearted”, said the DD assistant coach and former India off-spinner Ashish Kapoor.

Best shot

And Karthik, 24, demonstrated the way to bat on a slow track. He picked the right deliveries and gave it the best shot. “It is very important not to panic. You have to know your areas of strength and also learn to anticipate. This anticipation is important. You have to be one-up on the bowler,” said Karthik.

Standing up to Shane Warne, even if the Australian happens to be a shadow of his intriguing art, can still be a nightmare.

As the young Kedar Jadhav learnt it off the second ball he faced of the wily leg-spinner. But not Karthik! “Against bowlers like Warne and (Shaun) Tait, you have to deal depending upon the situation. There are times when you would have to attack from the beginning. That's what I had in mind last night. The match was important and it was nice I got my first 50 of this IPL.”

What about the intensity on the field? Has it become more intense than the first edition of the IPL.

Karthik was convinced it had. “It has definitely become far more competitive because the players are getting to know each other better with every IPL. The bowlers have improved and become more challenging.”

The pressure, Karthik asserted, was also severe.

“It is tough to compare the pressure when playing for India and when competing in the IPL. But let me tell you that the pressure may vary but not the way you react to it. The conditions become different but not the pressure and the way you react to it. I don't think an individual can react differently to a pressure situation. Your natural way to combat the challenge remains the same. What I look forward to always is to be consistent.”

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