Bangalore: Arun Karthik produced the six most important runs of his 14-match Twenty20 career off the last ball of the CLT20 league phase to propel Royal Challengers Bangalore past South Australia Redbacks in a game that had everything except for a Super Over finish. It had the most astonishing century, from Daniel Harris. It had a five-for from Shaun Tait, in a game where 419 runs came off 40 overs. It also featured sublime strokeplay from Virat Kohli, who played the best innings of his Twenty20 career. It had strong support hands from Callum Ferguson and Tillakaratne Dilshan. But it all boiled down to the last ball, off which six were needed, and Karthik stepped up to smash Daniel Christain into the stands beyond midwicket. The crowd went up as one, the RCB dug-out exploded in joy, and even the usually laidback Gayle walked out shirtless with a broad smile.
In a game that unfolded like a Hitchcockian whodunit, it was fitting that the winning blow came off the bat of someone who was playing only because of AB de Villiers' injury. At the other end was S Aravind, by some distance the worst bowler of the day, who got close to redemption with a boundary off the third ball of that electric final over. Christian produced a slower ball off the fourth, which Aravind slogged for two, making it seven needed off the last two balls. He couldn't connect off the next, but the batsmen scrambled through for a bye. Six needed off one, and Christian delivered a slower ball as eminently hittable as Chetan Sharma's infamous fulltoss in Sharjah, 1985. Arun Karthik stayed deep in his crease and heaved with all his might over midwicket to become a hero.