Hardik Pandya and Dinesh Karthik during the third T20 match.© BCCI
India’s 82-run victory margin against South Africa in the fourth T20I in Rajkot on Friday might give the impression that it was a walk in the park for the Rishabh Pant-led hosts, but it was not. India struggled with the bat at the start, until Dinesh Karthik (55, 27b) and Hardik Pandya (46, 31b) held their own to take the team to 169/6 in 20 overs. The latter came to the crease in the seventh over with a three-down with India, and then played responsibly in the final five overs before going to Boker. For Pandya, this performance was a continuation of his best form since the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022, where he led Gujarat Titans to the title.
After the win, Pandya revealed a lesson from MS Dhoni that changed him as a cricketer.
“Nothing really changes for me because I play the situation, I play the symbol that’s on my chest. The only thing I want to get better with time is how… lube and how many times can I do the same thing that I did for Gujarat Titans and also for India. Website.
“In the earlier days, Mahi bhai taught me one thing. I asked him a very simple thing like ‘How do you get away from pressure and everything?’ And he gave me a very simple piece of advice. It was like, ‘Stop thinking what your score is, start thinking what your team needs.’ That lesson stuck in my mind and it helped me become the player I have become. Whatever situation I go into, I assess it and play accordingly.”
In the match, Karthik played a knock to remember, before Avesh Khan gifted his father a “perfect birthday gift” as India leveled the five-match series 2-2 on Friday with the South. Steamed Africa. Karthik scored his first half-century nearly 16 years after his T20I debut and along with vice-captain Pandya took India to the fighting total.
For the second game in a row, the South African batsmen stumbled and scored 87 for nine in 16.5 overs to the retired hurt of captain Temba Bavuma. Avesh (4/18) led India’s scintillating performance with the ball, registering career-best figures in the process. This was the lowest score by an away team in T20 Internationals in India.
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