Dinesh Karthik far from done: India finisher smashes maiden T20I fifty at 37
- Dinesh Karthik made 55 off 27 balls in the fourth T20I vs South Africa
- He and Pandya shared a 65-run stand and were able to score 73 runs in the last five overs
- India scored 169 runs in the first innings
Fifteen years ago, playing India's first-ever T20I, Dinesh Karthik scored a 28-ball 31 to help his side beat South Africa by six wickets and win the player of the match. On Friday, against the same team, the finisher, now 37 years old, slammed his maiden half-century in the format.
Coming into bat when India were 81/4, Rishabh Pant was back into the dugout and Hardik Pandya was trying to get going at the other end, Karthik counter-attacked the South Africans to guide India to a respectable 169-run total in the first innings.
He and Pandya shared a 65-run stand and were able to score 73 runs in the last five overs. While the former made 55 off 27, the Gujarat Titans captain made 46 runs in 31 balls.
It was on the first ball of the final over when Dinesh Karthik cleared his front leg and smoked Pretorius's slot ball over cow corner. The finisher, who had to fight his way back into the Indian team, had managed to get his first fifty-plus score in T20Is. It had come in only 25 balls.
Karthik had last played a T20I more than three years ago in February 2019. He got a spot in the Indian team against South Africa owing to his stellar show in IPL 2022. The Royal Challengers Bangalore player scored 330 runs in 16 innings at a strike rate of 183.33.
"Whenever the question is asked (how does he feel coming back after 16 years) I feel old for a start, but apart from that it feels good to play the first ever T20 for India. Complete different generations. I read somewhere that out of both those teams 21 have retired out of the 22 have retired. So it feels good that I am alive and kicking and playing some cricket here. Slightly on the slower side. Ball is not coming on. If you bowl in the right areas and the right speed it was tough to hit," he said after the innings.