4th T20I Vs SA: Veteran Karthik, Young Avesh Set Up 82-Run Win As India Level Series 2-2

Rajkot: Team India played second fiddle to South Africa in the first 10 overs of the fourth T20 International here on Friday evening, struggling to 56/3. Soon they were 81/4 after 13 overs, as skipper Rishabh Pant failed once again.

And then veteran Dinesh Karthik, all of 37 years old, and Hardik Pandya took over, to plunder 73 runs in the last 5 overs to help the home team post a decent total of 169/6.

The bowlers then did their job exceptionally well to restrict South Africa to 87/9 in 16.5 overs, with skipper Temba Bavuma retiring hurt after being struck on the hand.

India’s brilliant 82-run win made it 2-2 in the series with everything to play for in Sunday’s series finale at Bengaluru.

Pacer Avesh Khan breathed fire to bag 4/18 in four overs, including three in one over, while leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal took 2/21 in 4 to condemn South Africa to their lowest T20I total.

It marked a spectacular turnaround for Team India, who had lost the first 2 games at Delhi and Cuttack. They had to bat first in all four games as Rishabh Pant lost every toss to Bavuma. But the men in blue got their act right, starting at Visakhapatnam and tonight at the SCA Stadium, to defend totals successfully.

But it wouldn’t have been possible without that magical partnership by Karthik and Pandya. With the team scoring at less than 6 runs an over till the end of 11th over – when they were 62/3 – the duo launched a measured but spectacular assault on South African bowlers to add as many as 75 runs in a mere 5.3 overs.

Karthik smashed 55 off 27 balls, hitting 9 fours and 2 sixes, while Pandya’s 46 came off 31 balls and included 3 fours, 3 sixes.

Scores: India 169/6 in 20 overs. South Africa 87/9 in 16.5 overs (Temba Bavuma was retired hurt).

Result: India won by 82 runs.

Series: Tied at 2-2

Final match: Sunday, June 19 (Bengaluru).

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