India beat SA in 4th T20I, level series: Key stats
India beat South Africa in the fourth T20I at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Rajkot, on Friday. The hosts successfully defended 169, with Avesh Khan destroying South Africa's batting line-up. Earlier, Dinesh Karthik slammed his maiden half-century in T20Is. India have claimed their second consecutive victory, leveling the series 2-2. The two teams would now meet in the decider Sunday.
SA had reduced India to 81/4 after electing to field. A terrific partnership between Hardik Pandya and Dinesh Karthik fueled India's innings. India compiled 169/6, with the duo adding 78 runs together. Quinton de Kock and Temba Bavuma started well, but the former got run-out in the fifth over. While the latter retired through injury, others failed to deliver. India restricted SA to 87/9.
Karthik featured in India's first-ever T20 International in December 2006, against South Africa (Johannesburg). Nearly 16 years later, against the same opposition, the Indian wicket-keeper-batter brought up his maiden T20I half-century. The right-handed batter hammered 55 (27) against the Proteas in the fourth T20I on Friday. Karthik, 37, has become the oldest Indian to have registered a fifty in the format.
Karthik now has the highest T20I score by an Indian at number six or lower. He broke the record of former Indian captain MS Dhoni, who slammed an unbeaten 52 against SA in 2018. Manish Pandey scored an unbeaten 50 against New Zealand in 2020.
Karthik's maiden T20I fifty came in his 30th innings. The Indian middle-order batter now has 491 runs from 36 matches at a healthy average of 35.07. Karthik has an astonishing strike rate of 146.13 in the shortest format. It is to be noted that most of Karthik's T20I runs have come against the Proteas (152 at 30.40).
Hardik Pandya counter-attacked in the middle overs after India lost successive wickets. He smashed 46 off 31 balls with the help of 3 fours and as many sixes. Pandya has been in sublime touch with the bat. He registered his third 30+ score in the ongoing T20I series. His last eight T20I scores read as 46, 31*, 9, 31*, 34, 40*, and 62*.
Fast bowler Avesh Khan was the pick of India's bowlers in the match. He took four wickets, including his first of the series. Avesh scalped three of these in the 14th over (Rassie van der Dussen, Marco Jansen, and Keshav Maharaj). The youngster registered his maiden four-wicket haul in the shortest format. Before this match, Avesh had two wickets in T20Is.