Having played 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 fifty 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 went on to play a knock of 55 runs off just 27 balls with the help of 9 fours and 2 sixes.
On the other hand, stand-in skipper Rishabh Pant has been finding it tough with the bat, and has only managed 57 runs in four games so far. Former Proteas pacer Dale Steyn said that Pant seems to be making the same mistakes.
“Pant has had four opportunities in this series, where he seems to be making the same mistakes. Also, you think that good players learn from their mistakes, he has not. DK has just come out every single time and shown what a class player he is. If you want to win the World Cup, you want to pick a guy who is in form. There are guys who team will pick on reputation, but DK is in such fantastic form, if he continues this form, he is going to be one of the first names written down on the plane when India tours for the World Cup later this year,” said Steyn on ESPNcricinfo’s ‘T20 Time Out’.
Further talking about Karthik, Steyn said: “DK has been in phenomenal 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 bowlers are trying to do and he backs it up with very good skill. He reverse sweeps, sweeps, laps. They are shots being played by somebody who reads and understands the game, understands what the bowler is going to bowl when before he runs up to bowl.”
“He does it so well, he attacks the first and last ball of the over, he puts the bowlers under pressure on ball one, and then the guys, they don’t really have an answer,” he added.
Walking out to bat in the 13th over, Karthik saw out the initial few balls and then he started to tee off, helping India post 169/6 in 20 overs in the fourth T20I.
Team India defended 169 with ease in the fourth T20I as they bundled out South Africa for 87. Avesh Khan was the pick of the bowlers as he returned with four wickets.
The series decider will now be played at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on Sunday evening.
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