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Royal Challengers Bengaluru's players celebrate after winning the Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 cricket match against Chennai Super Kings at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on Saturday. Image Credit: AFP

Bengaluru: Moments after Royal Challengers Bengaluru created history at Chinnaswamy Stadium, storming into the IPL playoffs with six successive wins, wicketkeeper-batter Dinesh Karthik told his teammates that people will remember this RCB team for a long time to come.

“Not only people, but even other teams in the future, will be inspired by the incredible turnaround his team has achieved this season,” Karthik said during celebration in the dressing room post the win.

RCB made it to the playoffs despite having lost seven of their first eight games. “We should be really proud of this journey. People will always remember certain journeys. The way we have come back after eight games, we needed to win six, people will remember this team,” he said.

“Every year in this tournament, when you hit the seven-game mark, there will be one or two teams which would have probably won one or two games and they will look to us and say, ‘RCB did it. That was special. We are going to try and repeat what RCB did.’ And that is what we all play cricket for, a sport for which people follow us and believe that they can do something special. It is hard. It is not going to be easy, I can tell any team that. What we have achieved today is very, very special. We should be really proud of ourselves, winning six out of six,” Karthik added.

Heading onto the Eliminator in Ahmedabad on Wednesday, Karthik feels RCB have given themselves the opportunity to achieve something so extraordinary that their feats will remain on people’s minds for years.

“When we get on that flight to Ahmedabad, we have a job to do. We have it within our grasp to do something that people will remember for many decades. It will be a journey where people will say, ‘wow, that RCB team was special.’ We are on that journey. We can do something really special if we put our minds to it. Nothing different. Just the same thing, over and over and over again. We will be the team that other teams look at,” Karthik said.

What made RCB’s passage to the playoffs even more special was that it came against the defending champions from Chennai, with whom RCB have had a long-standing rivalry.

Adding to the challenge was the fact that RCB’s batting build-up was interrupted by a rain break, and they had to contend with the turning ball in changed conditions upon resumption.

“We have to understand the gravity of this game. This has been one of the marquee games for many, many years. It is fair to say they have found a way sometimes to get ahead of us. Coming into this game, there was a sense of quiet confidence about us, playing the defending champions, and the way we played, we should be really proud of ourselves, right up to the last ball,” Karthik said.

Hailing RCB as the best fielding unit, Karthik mentioned the catching heroics of Faf du Plessis and Swapnil Singh. “We can proudly say we are the best fielding team in this tournament, without a doubt. That catch, Faf, was special. Swapnil’s catch as well, when it mattered the most, was serious. And my keeping, that was outstanding! Most importantly, as a team, we did phenomenally well, staying there in the game,” Karthik said, while also praising Yash Dayal on his excellent last over for closing out the game.

Karthik said another team could have settled for a total of 150 considering the changed conditions after the rain, but RCB had overcome them and put on a show for their 12th Man Army.

“What makes today really special, according to me, is that a lot of things went against what you would have ideally wanted. For a start, Faf, with the toss. But then we showed why we are so special as a team in this journey. Even though it turned, we had a rain break, and we had to go, start again, Just the way Virat and Faf played the next three overs made it feel like 140-150 could be a decent total. Most teams would have thought about that and we would have thought about that for a second as well.”

“But after that, to go out there, play the way we did against all odds, taking the game on, and that is something our support staff has been constantly harping on ... showing that yet again in Bengaluru, we all know how proud our franchisee is and how our fans are and we gave them a treat to watch,” Karthik concluded.