Delhi Daredevils take on Deccan Chargers in the first semi-final

It’s semifinal time and Team Delhi are on top. Their opening duo hasn’t been at its best, but that hasn’t stopped them from looking a formidable unit right through the tournament.

If the star of the middle-order has been AB de Villiers, there have been two silent performers in the team who have always chipped in with useful performances at the right time to take Delhi out of trouble.

Tillakaratne Dilshan and Dinesh Karthik are not the biggest stars of the Delhi team, they are not used to too much stardom at the national level either. While Karthik is still coming to terms with the fact that he is not in the T20 World Cup team, Dilshan is finally relishing the opportunity to bat up the order, which he doesn’t always get while playing for Sri Lanka.

“Most of my career, I have batted down the order at No. 5 or 6. But I always prefer going up and I think that has a lot to do with my success in the tournament so far,” Dilshan told the TOI. It’s the bounce in the South African wickets that the Sri Lankan is also enjoying. “These are the wickets I have always loved batting on. I can play on the backfoot and that has helped me immensely here,” Dilshan added.

The right-hander, who captained Sri Lanka in a one off T20 game against India, feels his success also has a lot to do with the innovative shots he plays. “To be a good T20 player, you’ve to play those chip shots here and there. A lot of hard work goes into perfecting those shots and I think it’s all paying off now,” the Lankan added.

It’s these innovative shots that has made Karthik a potent customer in T20 cricket as well. “I don’t know whether to take it as a compliment when people say I am becoming a T20 expert. I guess I have done well in all forms of the game and I try these shots even when I am playing the longer version,” Karthik said.

Karthik was a member of the T20 World Cup winning team in South Africa and when the news came that he is not there this time, it did disappoint him. “It obviously felt bad, but I knew my job was to keep performing. It’s good that the IPL has gone well for me so far,” the Tamil Nadu keeper added.

His Team Delhi coach Greg Shipperd, too, believes the secret behind Karthik’s success is his “allround skills”.

“He is easily the best wicketkeeper batsman in the country after MS Dhoni. Coming at No. 6, he is our perfect allrounder, and so is Dilshan. He often comes up with those few good overs which become vitally important. These two have really gone a long way in lending the much-needed balance to our team,” Shipperd said.

For the duo, it’s just a matter of keeping it going for two more games. “We have done everything well in the tournament so far. We’re extremely confident that it will be the same in the last two games as well,” said Karthik.

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