Do you remember, a wicketkeeper batter in 2006 coming into the national side after a terrific first class display? That was Dinesh Karthik, who played his first-ever T20I match against South Africa and its been 16 years but still he is on.
Now, 16 years later, in Rajkot, Karthik notched up his first half-century in the format, blistering 27-ball 55, hitting nine fours and two sixes at a strike rate of 203.7. He was also involved in a crucial 65-run stand-off with 33 balls with Hardik Pandya to set up India’s 82-run thrashing of South Africa and take the series to a cracking finale on Sunday.
“Just feels good. I am feeling very secure in this setup. In the last game, things didn’t go according to plan, but I went and expressed myself today. I think (veteran) DK is thinking a little better. He is able to assess situations better and that comes with practice, planning and experience,” said Karthik after he was adjudged ‘Player of the Match’.
When Karthik and Pandya joined forces, India were 81/4 in 12.5 overs. The pitch was everything that one wouldn’t have expected for the Rajkot pitch to be apart from a hint of turn for spinners — some movement for seamers and variable bounce looming around. But Karthik, along with Pandya, changed the situation in India’s favour with a dazzling batting display that fetched them 73 runs in the last five overs.
“They bowled brilliantly upfront and made it tough for us. It was a tough pitch to bat on. It was hard to hit boundaries. Our openers have usually been kind enough to get us off to good starts. When I went in Hardik told me to take my time. It was important that players who have been around for a long need to stand up on such pitches,” revealed Karthik on the batting approach at the back end of the innings.