Dinesh Karthik struck a last-ball six to hand Team India a stunning victory in the Nidahas Trophy final against Bangladesh back in March, last year. History repeated itself on Sunday, except India were on the losing side this time.
Chasing an uphill task of 213 to win, India could manage only 208 despite early fireworks from Vijay Shankar 43 (28), Rishabh Pant 28 (12), Hardik Pandya 21 (11).
A 63-run partnership between Dinesh Karthik (33*) and Krunal Pandya (26*) almost did the job for the visitors but it wasn’t enough in the end.
Needing 16 to win in the final over of the match, Karthik started with a double before playing out two dot balls – one of which saw Karthik deny Krunal a single – that eventually ended any slim hopes they might have had of taking away the series.
The incident was reminiscent of Dhoni refusing a double to Ravichandran Ashwin against Australia in the Commonwealth Bank Series back in 2012. Dhoni eventually won the match for India with 2 balls to spare.
Baffled by Karthik's decision, former Indian cricketer Gautam Gambhir, who was seated in the commentary box, slammed Karthik for sticking to his ground and denying a single to Krunal while stressing on the fact that the batsman on the non-striker's end wasn't a tail-ender.
Sanjay Manjrekar shared similar thoughts on the controversial decision.
Brilliant hitting by DK but small mistakes have a big effect on the result in T20s. Was a mistake to not take that single with Krunal at the other end.#IndVsNZ— Sanjay Manjrekar (@sanjaymanjrekar) February 10, 2019
While Harsha Bhogle gave the benefit of doubt to the wicket-keeper batsman.
Lot of talk about Karthik turning down the single like Dhoni used to. He was in great touch, was backing himself. In the heat of the moment you do things by instinct. He will realise he should have taken it given Pandya was hitting well. Not sure would've made a difference though— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) February 10, 2019
Karthik's call was questioned by furious cricket fans on Twitter.
What was DK’s point in refusing the single? It’s not like he was batting with a tailender who couldn’t have hit a 6. Krunal had just as much chance of clearing the boundary as DK. This “misjudgement” might perhaps cost him a potential World Cup spot. #NZvIND— महादादा (@mahadada) February 10, 2019
Dinesh Karthik thinks he was Dhoni. Okay absolutely fine. But he thought Krunal Pandya is Ashwin????? #NZvIND— Sameer Allana (@HitmanCricket) February 10, 2019
Why didn't Karthik take that single? Does he think he is Dhoni?— Ashish Magotra (@clutchplay) February 10, 2019
Dinesh Karthik wasted 2 deliveries even denied taking a single
Rohit Sharma & co. to Dinesh Karthik in dressing roomFebruary 10, 2019
Dinesh Karthik is clearly not a fan of Salman Khan. He doesn't believe in Hit and Run.#INDvNZ— Mr. Arora (@vishesharora19) February 10, 2019
Mr. Dinesh Karthik you are not MS DHONI to deny a single and then finish with sixes. You might have done it once but you can't do it every time like MS does... #INDvsNZt20— Bastele Jhakday (@bastelej) February 10, 2019
Dinesh Karthik should not play for India after this. That is the most horrible thing I’ve seen in a while.— ADITYA (@StarkAditya) February 10, 2019
However, several came out to bat for Karthik.
Dinesh Karthik since 2017 in T20Is:
16 - Innings.
11 - Not Outs.
290 - Runs.
56.44 - Average.
163.31 - Strike Rate.
48 - Highest Score.
Not good to blame someone like Dinesh Karthik for the defeat when he's performing such brilliant since last couple of years. #NZvIND— Mufaddal Vohra (@mufaddal_vohra) February 10, 2019
Real Culprit : Rohit Sharma
But Legend thinks : Dinesh Karthik Just because he denied single.February 10, 2019
I remember MS Dhoni doing the exact same thing Karthik did and he had Rayudu at the other end. So stop judging, I'd actually salute Karthik for taking the responsibility on his shoulders. #NZvIND— Maverick (@maverickmonger) February 10, 2019
I know there will be criticism over @DineshKarthik's call to refuse the single there, but i'm very sure him over Pandya was the right call.If anybody in this Indian side can win a last over/ball game it is Karthik.#NZvInd— Siddharth Mishra (@Mirror_ur_self) February 10, 2019
To all those saying Karthik should have taken that single, below is the image where everyone said "Kartik will wonder why he took that single"? (India vs Australia T20) @GautamGambhir pic.twitter.com/5h3BjntmE5— jehan kothari (@jehans27) February 10, 2019
Why everyone bashing KARTHIK? Look at his strike rate! What about ROHIT SHARMA ?? He played 32 balls for 38runs! Leaving too much for others to come... Those are morons who are blaming Karthik! https://t.co/gMo7dhvadl— EINSTEIN (@WritersGem) February 10, 2019
With 11 to win on the last ball, Karthik slammed a six as India lost the thrilling encounter by 4 runs, losing the series 2-1 to Black Caps.