After playing his first T20I in 2006, Dinesh Karthik is still showing what he is capable of in the shortest format of the game. 16 years after his T20I debut, he registered his maiden half-century in the shortest format against South Africa in the fourth T20I of the five-match series on Friday, helping India level the series. The 37-year-old scored 55 runs in just 27 balls with the help of 9 fours and 2 sixes.
Stand-in skipper Rishabh Pant, on the other hand, is finding it difficult with the bat, and has managed only 57 runs in four matches so far. Former Proteas fast bowler Dale Steyn said that Pant seems to be making the same mistakes.
“Pant has had four occasions in this series where he seems to be making the same mistakes. Also, you think good players learn from their mistakes, they don’t. DK has come out every time and has shown that a class. What a player he is. If you want to win the World Cup, you want to pick someone who is in form. There are people who will choose team prestige, but DK is in such great form, if he is in that form. Continuing, he is going to be one of the first names written on the plane when India tour for the World Cup later this year,” Steyn said on ESPNcricinfo’s ‘T20 Time Out’.
Talking further about Karthik, Steyn said: “DK has been in great form. This year, he is getting better and better. He has the wicketkeeper mentality, he reads the game really well, he knows And understands what the bowler is trying to do and he supports it with great skill. He sweeps, sweeps, reverses laps. They are shots being played by someone who reads the game and Understands, understands what the bowler is going to bowl before he runs to bowl.
“He does it very well, he strikes the first and last ball of the over, he puts the bowlers under pressure on the first ball, and then guys, he doesn’t really have an answer, ” They said.
Coming out to bat in the 13th over, Karthik saw off the opening few balls and then he started helping India post 169/6 in 20 overs in the fourth T20I.
Team India easily defended 169 runs in the fourth T20I as they bundled out South Africa for 87 runs. Avesh Khan returned with four wickets.
The decider of the series will now be played at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on Sunday evening.
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