Karthik, Avesh star as India blunt South Africa to draw level

RAJKOT: India wicket-keeper batter Dinesh Karthik smashed a brilliant half-century before the young pacer Avesh Khan wreaked havoc over the South African batting line-up to bolster the home side to a comprehensive 82-run victory in the fourth T20I.

India have made a remarkable turnaround after falling behind 2-0 in the first two games to force the series to tie at 2-2 going into the final game on Sunday.

Batting first, the home side posted a commendable total of 169/6 in the allotted 20 overs, thanks to the blistering half-century from Karthik.

The home side were in all sorts of trouble when Karthik came out to bat at 81/4 in the 13th over. The wicket-keeper batter then showed character and put on a match-defining partnership with the all-rounder Hardik Pandya.

The pair added 65 runs for the fifth wicket and excelled at the pace to power the side to a commendable total. Pandya, who was a touch slow in the proceedings, fell short to Lungi Ngidi in the 19th over. He scored 46 off 31 balls, laced with three boundaries and as many sixes.

Karthik, on the other hand, fell in the final over after making sure to pull his side out of danger as India finished on 169/6 in 20 overs. The wicket-keeper batter top-scored for the side with 55 off a mere 27 deliveries with the help of nine boundaries and two sixes.

In the run chase, Indian bowlers displayed sheer dominance over the Proteas batting line-up and bowled out the touring side for a skimpy 87 in the 17th over.

Rassie van der Dussen resisted a bit with his gritty 20, but he too, could not hold on for long against the strong Indian bowling attack. The rest of the batters also looked helpless as eight of them could not enter into the double figures.

For India, Avesh was the pick of the bowlers as he bagged his career-best 4-18, while Yuzvendra Chahal bagged two. Harshal Patel and Axar Patel, on the other hand, made one scalp each.

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