A collective performance wherein Avesh Khan led the charge in the bowling department after Dinesh Karthik registered his first fifty in T20I saw India defeat South Africa by a massive 82 runs in the fourth match against South Africa in Rajkot on Friday.
Hardik Pandya also played a pivotal role with the bat as India recovered brilliantly in the final five overs of their batting innings.
With this win, India levelled the series 2-2 to take the series into a decider at Bangalore on Sunday.
Avesh Khan’s 4/18 played an instrumental role in dismissing the visitors for a paltry 87 runs, their lowest total for South Africa in T20Is while being bowled out. Temba Bavuma was retired hurt and did not return to bat.
The Proteas batters could barely get going on the tricky Rajkot pitch. Rassie van der Dussen was the top scorer for his side with 20 runs.
Earlier in the innings, South Africa put the Indians on the back foot in the powerplay, despite the absence of their leading bowler Kagiso Rabada owing to injury. After the dismissals of Ruturaj Gaikwad (5), Ishan Kishan (27), Shreyas Iyer (4), skipper Rishabh Pant and Hardik, steadied the innings with a 41-run stand. But Pant’s struggles with the bat continued as he was out for 17 off 23 balls, chasing another wide delivery.
India were 81 for four before a 65-run partnership between vice-captain Hardik Pandya (46 off 31) and Karthik (55 off 27) got them back into the game. Then, Hardik and Karthik scored 73 runs in the final five overs for an explosive finish.
Karthik was declared player of the match.