India’s veteran wicket-keeper batsman Dinesh Karthik once again displayed his 360-degree batting ability to slam South African bowlers around the park at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Rajkot on Friday. The 37-year-old slammed his maiden T20I half-century to help India fight 169/7 in 20 overs against a quality Proteas attack.
Karthik, who played his first T20I match in 2006, completed his maiden half-century with a brilliant six over a cow corner. The veteran wicketkeeper made a comeback to the Indian team after almost three years, courtesy a sensational Indian Premier League season with Royal Challengers Bangalore. He scored 330 runs in IPL 2022 at a strike rate of 183.33.
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On Friday, Karthik came out to bat in a difficult phase when India were reduced to 4 for 81 in 12.5 overs. Karthik joined hands with Hardik Pandya and helped India recover from there to give their bowlers a fighting chance.
The 37-year-old completed his half-century off the first ball of the final over, however, Dwayne Pretorius took his revenge on the very next ball after scoring 55 runs. His stay in 27 balls was studded with 9 fours and 2 sixes.
Meanwhile, Karthik also broke a huge record held by MS Dhoni, becoming the oldest Indian player to score a T20I fifty.
- 37 years and 16 days: Dinesh Karthik vs South Africa in 2022
- 36 years and 229 days: MS Dhoni vs South Africa in 2018
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After the first innings, Karthik was excited to help his team overcome a tough situation as he talked about taking risks in a few overs.
“How India were placed in 10 overs was crucial in the scheme of things, so I was very happy with what we did today. I was confident that we can score 80-85 runs in the last 7 overs. I was wondering how to do it. You have to capitalize on some overs, take some risks. Risk is something that you need to accept and imbibe in T20 cricket, so I was trying to weigh my options and figure out what to do,” Kartik told the broadcasters.
“Whenever the question is asked (how does he feel when he comes back after 16 years) I feel old for a start, but other than that it feels good to play the first T20I for India. Meet different generations. I read somewhere that 21 out of 22 of those two teams have retired. So it feels good that I am alive and playing some cricket here.”
India were struggling at 81 for four before a 65-run partnership between Hardik (46 off 31) and Karthik (55 off 27) brought the home team back into the game.
Karthik also admitted that the wicket was on the slow side and it was difficult to hit boundaries.
“A little on the slower side. The ball is not coming. If you bowl in the right area and at the right pace, it is difficult to hit.”
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