Sat, 09 Dec 2023

Guwahati (Assam) [India], October 3 (ANI): The second T20I between India and South Africa in Guwahati was a high-scoring game worth its money and one of the moments that defined the result in India's favour was the finishing touch given by wicketkeeper-batter Dinesh Karthik in the final over.

Not just the fireworks by Karthik, who scored 16 runs in the final over, which became crucial in India's win, there were some heart-warming moments that stood out in the final over.

After 19 overs, India was at 219/3. Virat Kohli was on verge of completing his half-century, batting at 49. On the other side was Karthik, a capable finisher at 1 off one ball. However, Kohli did something expected of only great players like him.

Having known Karthik's power-hitting abilities, which Kohli had seen during their time together during the IPL season this year at Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), Kohli asked Karthik to continue with the strike and hit as many runs as he could and sacrificed his chance of scoring another fifty.

When Karthik offered the strike to Kohli after dispatching the fourth delivery for six, Kohli flatly declined, putting the team's interests above his own. He also made sure that Karthik got enough game time and some much-needed confidence after some big hits, something that India's designated finisher needs before ICC T20 World Cup 2022.

The result was Karthik faced the entire over, smashing 16 runs off it and finishing at 17 (not out) off seven with two sixes and a four, powering India to a massive 237/3. These 16 runs became the difference between the two sides as, despite Miller's valiant 106, South Africa lost by 16 runs. With it, India won the series 2-0.

While Kohli could not make his half-century, in the grand scheme of things it appeared worth it in the end.

India was put to bat first by the Proteas and scored a massive 237/3 in 20 overs. Explosive knocks from KL Rahul (57 off 28 balls), Suryakumar Yadav (61 off 22 balls) and Kohli (49 off 28 balls) helped the Men in Blue reach this total.

Spinner Keshav Maharaj was the only bowler who looked good for Proteas, taking 2/23 in his four overs.

Chasing 238, South Africa lost opener Temba Bavuma and Rilee Rossouw for a duck, thanks to pacer Arshdeep Singh's (2/62) opening spell. Aiden Markram and Quinton de Kock formed a 45-run stand before Markram was dismissed by Axar Patel (1/53) for 33 off 19 balls.

Next, it was de Kock and David Miller who formed a 174-run stand for the fourth wicket but fell short of a win by 16 runs. Miller scored a brilliant century, 106 in just 47 balls. de Kock also scored 69 off 48 balls.

KL Rahul won the 'Man of the Match' award for his 57 off 28 balls.

This season served as a starting point for Karthik's re-emergence as a dependable 'finisher'. He has ended the IPL season with 330 runs. And he has appeared confident with the bat. (ANI)

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