It's not often that you find a player beaming after his side has been thumped by 79 runs
in a T20 World Cup game, but nothing could wipe the smile off Karthik Meiyappan
's face following his hat-trick against Sri Lanka.
Karthik, the 22-year-old UAE legspinner who was born in Chennai and has trained with both Royal Challengers Bangalore and Chennai Super Kings in the past, put his name up in lights in Geelong with three magical deliveries in three balls to join Brett Lee, Curtis Campher, Wanindu Hasaranga and Kagiso Rabada as just the fifth man to take a hat-trick at a T20 World Cup.
"It still hasn't sunk in, the fact that I've got a hat-trick in a T20 World Cup, and to become the fifth bowler to do so," Karthik said after the match. "It is really a proud moment and feels amazing. But, like I said, it would have been much greater and much better for me if we had won the game tonight."
He was genuine in his disappointment with the result. But Karthik, who moved to the UAE in 2007 when his father began working there, could not have done any more to help his team. He bowled a superb spell of four overs for just 19 runs, including 12 dots. His hat-trick came in his third over, the 15th of the innings, to stall Sri Lanka's momentum after they had cruised to 117 for 2 with more than five overs to go on a difficult batting surface.
"That is something I don't know about. But I hope they do"
Karthik Meiyappan on the possibility of a call-up from Chennai Super Kings
Even more impressive than the three deliveries
he bowled to dismiss Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Charith Asalanka and Dasun Shanaka was the clarity of his plans in the moment, and his execution. He was happy to talk everyone through the plans, too.
"First up against Rajapaksa, the leg side was the long boundary for him," Karthik said. "I thought he would take me down the deck as I think he was 5 or something that and… I tried to push it away bowling a wrong'un and he tried to go over covers but he sliced it.
"When Asalanka walked in, that was a no-brainer for me: I was going to bowl a wrong'un straight up and Vriitya [Aravind, the wicketkeeper] took an amazing catch.
"And then Dasun walked in, again I was just going through my motions being the hat-trick, but all I wanted to do was bowl on the stumps and whatever happens after that it is out of my hands. But, again, I just bowled a wrong'un and I think he picked it as a leggie."
He was asked after the match if he thought he might get a call from Chennai Super Kings again, this time for a bit more than bowling in the nets.
"That is something I don't know about," Karthik said with a smile. "But I hope they do."