Karthik, Avesh Help India Level Series

| Updated: 17 June, 2022 10:56 pm IST
Avesh Khan picked four wickets to rattle the South Africans

BENGALURU: On a pitch that spat out the variable bounce and some spice, Indian bowlers made mincemeat of South African batsmen and clinched an 82-run victory in the 4th T20I at Rajkot to level the series.

The final match of the series, which will be a decider, will take place at Bengaluru on June 19.

Chasing 170, South Africa got off to a tepid start as Quinton de Kock and Temba Bavuma added only 24 runs in the first five overs. Both of them attempted in vain to get the timing right and looked rather stolid. De Kock was run out in the 5th over and Bavuma was retired hurt soon after.

Avesh Khan, who had gone wicketless in the first three matches, finally had luck smiling on him as he bowled with ripping gusto and fire. He hit the deck hard, extracted appreciable seam movement and bounce and also used slow cutters astutely. Dwaine Pretorius tried to swing his bat against him but an inside edge was pouched by the wicket-keeper Rishabh Pant in the 6th over. Later, the medium-pacer also got rid of Rassie van der Dussen, Marco Jansen and Keshav Maharaj.

Meanwhile, leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal prised out Heinrich Klassen in the 9th over as the batsman was adjudged lbw as he tried to hit him across the line. Thereafter, the visitors’ innings slumped into a tailspin as no batter could measure up to the task. The dangerous David Miller was cleaned up for just 9 by Harshal Patel in the 11th over. The lower middle-order didn’t offer any resistance either as South Africa were bowled out for 87 in 16.5 overs.

Earlier, Indian openers – Ruturaj Gaikwad and Ishan Kishan – flattered to deceive on a pitch which was helping seamers in the first few overs. The medium-pacer Lungi Ngidi dismissed Ruturaj in the second over and Shreyas Iyer was trapped in front of stumps in the next over by Marco Jansen as he couldn’t negotiate the ball which swerved into him.

Kishan and the captain Rishabh Pant struggled throughout their stay at the crease and were smothered by South African bowlers as India managed only 40 runs in the Powerplay. The left-hander Kishan perished in the next over as he tried to play a late-cut off Anrich Nortje but was caught behind. He made only 27 runs off 26 balls.

Pant also looked out of his depth as he attempted to reel off big shots but to no avail. South African bowlers managed to squeeze him by bowling wide outside the off-stump. For the fourth time in the series, Pant was dismissed while trying to smite the ball outside off-stump but was caught at short third-man in the 13th over. The Indian captain eked out only 17 runs off 23 balls before being nipped out by the left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj in the 13th over.

While Pant was panting for runs, Hardik Pandya did the bulk of the scoring during their 41-run stand. Hardik pinched singles by clipping pacers off his pads or punching them through covers. Whenever they bowled it slightly short outside the off-stump, he was quick to pounce on such deliveries and unfurled stinging cuts behind square.

In the 12th over, he whipped Tabraiz Shamsi for two sixes to scuttle the stranglehold, but the Indian innings took wing when Dinesh Karthik sashayed on to the pitch after Pant’s dismissal. He would have been out for a duck if Maharaj had nailed the direct hit in the 14th over but that was not to be.

Indian innings took wing when Dinesh Karthik sashayed on to the pitch


Right from the word go, he looked like a batsman who is in excellent form. He triggered the pyrotechnics by sweeping Maharaj for four in the 15th over and in the next over smacked Nortje for two more boundaries. Karthik eschewed wild slogging and played balls on their merits. He unleashed a clutch of sweeps, pulls, reverse-sweeps & cuts depending on lines and lengths of balls.

In the 18th over, he walked across and deftly clouted the medium-pacer Dwaine Pretorius for a six over deep backward square. The next ball was nearly cut behind square on the off-side for a boundary as South African bowlers had no answers to his brilliant improvisations. In the last over of the innings, the 37-year-old racked up his first T20I fifty as he smoked Pretorius over deep mid-wicket for a maximum.

On the back of Karthik’s blistering 27-ball 55, India plundered 73 runs in the last 5 overs and reached 169-6 in 20 overs which proved too steep a total for the visitors in the end.

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