Dinesh Karthik, the Mumbai Indians wicketkeeper-batsman, is enjoying his time at No. 3. Batting up the order, Karthik said after setting up Mumbai's victory over Delhi Daredevils with an explosive 86, allowed him to take advantage of the Powerplay.
Karthik's half-century came after Mumbai were reduced to 1 for 2, with Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting dismissed within the first two overs of the match. It came after knocks of 37 (a steadying innings against Chennai Super Kings after another poor start for Mumbai) and 60 (against Royal Challengers Bangalore, in a game where Mumbai fell two runs short). The tournament's leading run-scorer so far, Karthik's runs have come at a strike-rate of 166, easily the best among the top 10 batsmen on the runs-aggregate chart.
"When I bat at No. 3, it gives me the opportunity to play in the Powerplay. It's a slot that I really like batting at," Karthik said after the Daredevils game. "It is important that when a team like Mumbai Indians gives you the opportunity up at the top, you have got to [repay] their faith, and show some effort and get some runs."
Karthik strung together a 131-run stand with Rohit Sharma at over 10 runs an over. Rohit provided him with ideal support, Karthik said: "Rohit and I put up a big partnership and the way he batted was just beautiful. He was giving me the strike when I required it and, towards the end, he hit the big shots after I got out."
Ponting and Tendulkar began this year's IPL with a half-century stand against Royal Challengers, albeit at a little over a run a ball, but have not been able to contribute much with the bat since. Ponting followed up his opening-game 28 with scores of 6 and 0. Despite his failures with the bat, Karthik said, Ponting was still having a big influence on the team.
"The intensity he brings on the field has been out of the world," he said. "Probably in terms of runs he has not had a great IPL thus far, but just the intensity he brings towards captaincy and trying to bring the unit together [is admirable]. He is a great captain."