Have India finally found the finisher in the T20 cricket they were looking for? Dinesh Karthik certainly has put his hands up as the veteran wicketkeeper once again proved his worth by scoring his maiden T20I half-century. After almost 16 overs of his debut against the same team, the Tamil Nadu batter brought up his first-ever T20 international fifty.
On Friday, India are up against South Africa in the fourth T20 game of the five-match series at the SCA Stadium, Rajkot. The Proteas came to this game with a 2-1 lead after three matches. While they are looking to seal the series tonight only, India are fighting to stay alive and enforcing a final with the victory.
India skipper Rishabh Pant lost the fourth consecutive toss and India were invited to bat first for the fourth time in as many games. The decision proved to be a masterstroke for the visitors as they reduced India to 24/2 inside the first three overs.
Rishabh Pant tried to stabilize the innings alongside Ishan Kishan and Hardik Pandya but India were languishing at 81/4 after 13 overs. Dinesh Karthik joined forces with Hardik Pandya in the middle with seven overs remaining as the team was hoping for a respectable total.
Dinesh Karthik alongside Hardik Pandya bails India out of trouble
India seen to have found their finishing duo as Hardik Pandya and Dinesh Karthik added 65 runs off 33 deliveries for the 5th wicket to pull the hosts out of the mud. DK, in particular, was more aggressive among the two but Hardik Pandya also used his whip whenever he got a chance.
In the process, Dinesh Karthik completed his first-ever T20I fifty and scored 55 runs off 27 deliveries, including nine boundaries and two maximums before getting out. His explosive knock helped India post a competitive total of 169/6 in 20 overs on a tricky surface.
The fans could not keep calm and praised DK for his extraordinary efforts on Twitter.
Check out the best reactions here:
Dinesh Karthick is making a story of his own. Brilliant batting!
— Irfan Pathan (@IrfanPathan) June 17, 2022
55(27) for DK. Playing on a different planet. He just gets T20. And nobody plays that role better than he does in this Indian set-up.
— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) June 17, 2022
We have seen this before, haven't we? 😎#PlayBold #WeAreChallengers #TeamIndia #ನಮ್ಮRCB #INDvSA
— Royal Challengers Bangalore (@RCBTweets) June 17, 2022
Top knocks by @hardikpandya7 and @DineshKarthik! What form 🤌 #INDvSA
— Harbhajan Turbanator (@harbhajan_singh) June 17, 2022
Dinesh Karthik is an absolute weapon at the crease 🔥 #INDvSA
— Chloe-Amanda Bailey (@ChloeAmandaB) June 17, 2022
Maiden T20I fifty for Dinesh Karthik! 😍❣️
What a knock it has been, it's come off just 26 balls. 👏#INDvSA #SaddaPunjab
— Punjab Kings (@PunjabKingsIPL) June 17, 2022
MOM in India’s first ever T20 international .. 16 years later gets his maiden fifty against the same side. Special knock this .. Something different, something fresh.. Living upto the promise he made at the IPL .. Well done @DineshKarthik #INDvSA
— Jatin Sapru (@jatinsapru) June 17, 2022
Hardik's 🔝 effort after coming in at a tough time and DK's entertaining fifty at the end have powered 🇮🇳 to 1️⃣6️⃣9⃣
Have. To. Defend. This 🤞🏻🤞🏻#INDvSA pic.twitter.com/8j6cwSKwQf
— Delhi Capitals (@DelhiCapitals) June 17, 2022
𝗪𝗛𝗔𝗧. 𝗔. 𝗞𝗡𝗢𝗖𝗞 🔥💙
55 (27) 👉 𝔻𝕂 OP ho jaaye, Paltan 🤩#OneFamily #INDvSA @DineshKarthik @BCCI pic.twitter.com/DbP10L7Eps
— Mumbai Indians (@mipaltan) June 17, 2022
HP 🤝 DK. Finishers. Punishers. 🇮🇳
📸: @BCCI pic.twitter.com/hOJyMbE0QB
— Rajasthan Royals (@rajasthanroyals) June 17, 2022
A come back for the ages, out of the side for 3 long years and he has returned with bang – fifty from 26 balls. Keep going, DK. pic.twitter.com/l2S1k46wMy
— Johns. (@CricCrazyJohns) June 17, 2022