India’s man of a mission, Dinesh Karthik on Friday played a breath-taking knock against South Africa in the 4th T20I of the series in Rajkot. 16 years after making his T20I debut for India, Karthik notched up his maiden half-century in the shortest format and helped lift India to 169/5, a total that looked out of reach around the 12-over mark.
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As expected, Karthik was the man to get interviewed during the innings break. Speaking to host broadcaster Star, Karthik was answering questions when he suddenly flinched and paused for a moment. Karthik wore a stunned look on his face – it felt like a reflex reaction of sorts – before he looked up towards the sky. He then resumed and said: “Sorry, I thought the ball was coming this way”.
Looking back at his knock of 55 off 27 balls, Karthik said he felt confident about lifting India towards a competitive total. With India losing three wickets early, and then copping a big blow in the form of captain Rishabh Pant’s dismissal, Karthik walked out when the team was in a spot of bother at 81/4 in 12.5 overs. From there, Karthik’s fireworks, which saw him hit nine fours and smoke two sixes, fetched India 73 runs in the final five overs.
“With how India were placed at 10 overs, it was important in the scheme of things, so I was very happy with what we did today. I believed that we could get 80-85 in the last 7 overs. I was thinking how to do it. You got to capitalize on certain overs, take some risks. Risks are something you need to accept and absorb in T20 cricket, so I was trying to weigh my options and figure out what to do,” Karthik pointed out.
After Karthiks blitz with the bat, the Indian bowlers put up a fantastic show led by Avesh Khan, who picked up a four-wicket haul. South Africa were bowled out for 87 in just 16.5 overs as India won the the match by massive 82 runs to push the five-match series into the decider.