RAJKOT, June 17:
Dinesh Karthik played a knock to remember before Avesh Khan gave his dad a “perfect birthday present” with a fiery spell as India steam-rolled South Africa by 82 runs here on Friday to level the five-match series 2-2
Karthik (55 off 27) scored his maiden fifty close to 16 years after his T20 debut and alongside vice-captain Hardik Pandya (46 off 31 ) took India to a fighting 169 for six.
For the second game in a row, South African batters faltered and collapsed to 87 for nine in 16.5 overs with skipper Temba Bavuma retired hurt. Avesh (4/18) led India’s brilliant display with the ball and recorded his career-best figures in the process. It was an away team’s lowest total in T20 Internationals in India.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Avesh were impressive with the new ball as South Africa slipped to 35 for two in the powerplay. After a hit on the shoulder, Temba Bavuma (8) injured his left elbow with a dive on the run and had to leave the field. He didn’t even come out for the post-match presentation ceremony.
Quinton de Kock (14), who missed the last two games due to a wrist injury, was run out after getting a ‘yes and no’ from Dwaine Pretorious at the the other end.
The pitch remained tricky to bat on even in the second innings with the odd ball gripping and rising sharply from good length, making strokeplay difficult.
South Africa could never get into the chase with wickets falling regularly.
The series decider will be played in Bengaluru on Sunday.
Earlier, the Indians were struggling at 81 for four before a 65-run stand between Hardik and Karthik brought the home team back into the game.
India were able to amass 73 runs in the last five overs.
Having won their fourth toss in as many games, South Africa put the Indians on the back-foot in the powerplay despite the absence of their lead bowler Kagiso Rabada due to an injury.
The other pacer, who missed due to an injury was Wayne Parnell while star opener…