IPL 2024: Dinesh Karthik And The Final Goodbye Kiss

Dinesh Karthik scored 326 runs in 15 innings at an average of 36.22 and a strike rate of 187.36 in the 2024 Indian Premier League.

IPL 2024, Eliminator: RR vs RCB_Photo_7
Dinesh Karthik plays a shot | Photo: AP/Ajit Solanki

Dinesh Karthik, strapping in his spikes, adjusting his jersey, combing his hair, fitting in his helmet, chasing dreams, and realising them, left, in a way, he had arrived. (More Cricket News)

Well, the stage was set and like he usually did, Karthik showed up. However, he could not quite have his fairytale finish but cricket did give him a walk off the stadium with fans cheering at the top of their voice and teammates applauding his achievements. 

In his final game, he again arrived like he always did, to try and pull Royal Challengers Bengaluru out of a hole. And Karthik’s night with the bat almost ended in the very first ball when he was trapped leg before wicket (LBW) by Avesh Khan. He did not review the decision immediately and walked to his partner Mahipal Lomror for clarity. 

He eventually reviewed and luck smiled, and Karthik had survived a close call. But he didn't last very long as he sliced one to Yashasvi Jaiswal off the same bowler. 

Was that shot needed in that situation? Yes of course, all part of the Dinesh Karthik spectacle which he pulled off more often than not.

The last few years were different and good different. Karthik kept the world on the edge of their seats, and entertained. He made his return to the Indian T20I side on the back of a spectacular, prove-the-doubters-wrong IPL. He had again realised a dream, two decades after he had realised his first, but, this time, with age not on his side.

But, it always came with an element of the impossible. Firstly, it is one thing to come back, and then to come back at 36.

They say, is not the size of the dog in the fight, it is the size of the fight in the dog, and Dinesh Karthik have proved it right with his cricketing renaissance, a turnaround like no other.

It was script writing at its peak, as freakishly good as it gets. Something even the greatest of screenwriters could have not written.

After Royal Challengers Bengaluru’s loss, Ahmedabad stood up and clapped and were full of high hopes a little before the decision came. It got them talking, whispering to one another with nervous smiles, not knowing what to expect, and if all this was just a dream, about to fade away just before waking up. 

But, Karthik already knew it was done and the final goodbye kiss did come. There was poignancy, emotion and what not while he walked back.

But, if one would have told the world, five years ago that Dinesh Karthik would be playing his last game after scoring 335 runs at a strike rate of 187.36 in his final season, at the age of 38, people might have laughed, but that’s Karthik in a nutshell - away from the hype, away from the limelight, against all odds, proving his detractors wrong. 

Fans cheered Dinesh Karthik like never before, and Karthik, super emotional, over joyed like a little kid that received lots of gifts for Christmas.

Nevertheless, Wednesday was a dagger-through-the-heart- sort of a night. But for Karthik, the chase had ended. Chasing totals, runs, spots, dreams and he walked away as a champion who always turned up when adversity, pressure, and challenge looked him in the eye.