Kolkata Knight Riders skipper Dinesh Karthik silenced his critics with a career-best 97 not out as recovered from an atrocious start to post a competitive 175 for six against Rajasthan Royals in their must-win IPL fixture at the Eden Garden in Kolkata on Thursday.
Amid the performance pressure after a string of five straight defeats, World Cup-bound Karthik promoted himself to No. 4, shrugging off criticism, and smashed nine sixes and seven fours in his 50-ball unbeaten knock.
Hailing his efforts, cricket commentator Harsha Bhogle took to Twitter and exclaimed that for him Dinesh Karthik's 97(50) was the 'player of the match'. He wrote, " I think the player of the match should be the player who produces the best performances of the match'.
In the 11th over, Karthik seized the momentum when he hit Shreyas Gopal for a six followed by three boundaries in an over that yielded 25 runs and KKR did not look back since then.
Karthik completed his fifty from 35 balls and smashed Jofra Archer for successive sixes in the penultimate over before bettering his previous best of 86 when he went berserk against Unadkat by hitting him for two sixes and one four in the final over.
Later, Varun Aaron was adjudged the Man of the Match for his bowling figures of 2/20.
Put in to bat, KKR got off to an atrocious start to be 32/2 in powerplay overs against an all out pace attack from Rajasthan Royals.
(With PTI inputs)