4th T20I: Dinesh Karthik, Avesh Khan Guide India to Clinical 82-run Win Over South Africa; Series Level at 2-2
Dinesh Karthik and Avesh Khan helped India register a clinical 82-run win over South Africa at Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Rajkot. Karthik turned back the clock to score his maiden century in T20I cricket to help India post a fighting 169/6 on the scoreboard. While the Indian bowlers hunted in the pack to bundle out the South African team for 87 in 16.5 overs. Avesh Khan was the pick of the bowlers as he claimed four wickets for just 18 runs. While the Proteas skipper Temba Bavuma was retired hurt and didn’t come out to bat after getting hit on the elbow by Avesh in the fourth over.
The win helped India level the series 2-2 as the decider will be played at M.Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru on June 19.
Avesh claimed three wickets in the 14th over to pin the visitors down in the game. Chasing the 170-run target, Bavuma was the first one to return to the pavilion after getting injured. While his opening partner Quinton de Kock (14) soon joined him after a horrible mix-up with Dwaine Pretorius which ended up in a run-out.
Pretorius was dismissed on a duck and became the first victim of Avesh Khan as he edged the ball to wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant. South Africa kept losing wickets at regular intervals as in-from Heinrich Klassen (8) was removed by Yuzvendra Chahal, while Harshal Patel castled David Miller on 9 to dent the visitors’ hope.
Earlier, the Indian top-order failed to score big in the crucial contest as they were 3/40, with Ishan Kishan (21), Ruturaj Gaikwad (5) and Shreyas Iyer (4) back in the hut. Captain Rishabh Pant also failed once again and was dismissed on 17 after facing 23 balls. He threw his wicket away at a crucial stage in the quest to hit a six on the ball which was way out of his reach.
The Indians were struggling at 81 for four before a 65-run stand between Hardik (46 off 31) and Karthik (55 off 27) brought the home team back into the game.
Karthik, who played his first T20I match way back in 2006, completed his maiden fifty with a magnificent six over cow corner. He displayed his 360-degree power-hitting ability once again to make his case strong for the upcoming T20 World Cup. While Pandya also played a responsible knock of 46 to give ample support to Karthik in the revival of the Indian team after a shoddy first half.