The fourth T20I against South Africa was a crucial match for the Indian side, as they required a victory in order to stay alive the series. Even after a poor start to the game, the Men in Blue managed to take charge of the game as combined efforts from the team members helped the hosts clinch the fixture by 82 runs and level the series at 2-2.
India were put to bat first, yet again, as Rishabh Pant lost the toss for the fourth consecutive time this series. A poor start to the innings meant India were 40/2 at the end of the powerplay. Ishan Kishan (27 off 26) started off well but struggled as the game progressed and as a result had to walk off in the seventh over.
India registered a low powerplay total and Rishabh Pant’s (17 off 23) poor form added misery to the team’s scoreboard. The vice-captain, Hardik Pandya (46 off 31), performed admirably in his capacity, keeping his team clear of difficulty as he found gaps at regular intervals to keep the scoreboard ticking.
In Dinesh Karthik (55 off 27), he found a capable partner who demonstrated why he is currently recognized as one of the top finishers in the nation. India appeared like they’d settle for 150 at one point, but thanks to that 33-ball 65-run stand between the duo, they were able to set a target of 170.
Indian bowlers took complete charge of the second innings
India were in full control of the game in the second innings, and they did not let any Proteas batter go past the 20-run mark. Indian bowlers displayed sheer class and set an example in front of the opposition and the audience. Temba Bavuma retired hurt after facing an injury to his hand early in the game, and India picked three wickets in the powerplay to put the visitors in trouble even further.
With only three batters getting double-digit scores, India restricted South Africa to mere 87 runs, their lowest ever total in the T20I format. The bowlers kept picking wickets regularly and broke the visitors’ momentum as they failed to stitch up a worthy partnership. Avesh Khan bagged four wickets, Yuzvendra Chahal picked two and Harshal Patel added a wicket under his belt as South Africa crumbled to India’s attack.
Losing skipper, Keshav Maharaj (stand-in) said:
Obviously didn’t go according to plan in the last few overs, but we felt the pitch got a bit better at the end. It is the lack of adaptability on our side. We need to be a bit more proactive. We stifled ourselves in the powerplay. We didn’t get ant partnerships and just exploded. Their bowlers bowled really well too. DK played really well at the end but we need to have better plans and adapt better. India is a tough place for spinners to bowl with small grounds. There will be a lot of buzz at the ground in Bangalore. Expect it to be a cracker.
Winning skipper, Rishabh Pant said:
We talked about execution and playing better cricket and here are the results. Whichever team plays better cricket wins the game. Maybe I will toss with the right hand in the next game and be positive. Really happy with the way Hardik put up a show. DK went for the kill rightaway and that gave us the positivity. As an individual I can look to improve in certain areas. Not too concerned though; looking to take the positives and looking to improve. Let’s see what happens in Bangalore. Looking forward to give our 100%.
Player of the match, Dinesh Karthik said:
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 DK is thinking a little better. He is able to assess situations better and that comes with practice. Credit to my coach. 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 long need to stand up on such pitches. Bangalore is a home ground for me. I haven’t played with RCB, but have played a lot over there. It is good to see a bilateral series going down to the final match. To see the pressure being absorbed in the third and fourth games was something we would relish. Credeit to Rahul Dravid; there is a certain sense of calmness. The dressing room is a calm place right now. It is important to learn to embrace pressure. It feels secure and fuzzy. That clarity and the environment environment helped.