How did Dinesh Karthik and Harshal Patel fare against South Africa?
Despite the rain Gods dampening the series finale, India and South Africa would dish out a thrilling contest that would witness the two teams sharing the spoils amongst themselves. There were a string of brilliant displays from both sides, underlining the finesse that these two stalwarts housed while there were a few individuals who elevated themselves beyond the ordinary to make a solid statement ahead of the looming T20 World Cup.
As we talked about the individual triumphs, there were two Royal Challengers who made the cut for the national team and dished out impeccable figures. Harshal Patel and Dinesh Karthik were two shining stars in the Indian sky.
Harshal would eventually finish as the top wicket-taker of the tournament with 7 scalps to his name, and more importantly, he would pull off such incredible figures at an economy rate of 7.23. He would also come up with his T20I career-best figures reading a staggering 4 for 25.
With all said and done, to realize the impact of Harshal’s bowling, there must be further context to his performances. In the opening fixture of the tournament where every bowler would take a whacking, Harshal would finish with figures of 1 for 43. However, the wicket that he would go on to claim was that of Dwaine Pretorius, the man who threatened to run away with the game in the initial stages.
In the second contest of the series where India would stay witness to another crushing defeat despite a late wobble from the South Africans, Harshal would finish with decent figures of 1 for 17. That only wicket he would claim in the match was the big one of Heinrich Klaasen, once again validating his ability to thrive under the pump.
It was the third game of the series that would eventually stay host to a devastating spell from Harshal Patel that would leave the South Africans wobbling early in the innings and it would be the RCB medium-fast ace who would finish things off for India. Harshal would start his proceedings with the big scalp of Reeza Hendricks who seemed to be in fine touch till then and was threatening to steal away the series from India. Harshal would be reintroduced to the attack after a while where he would remove the massive wicket of David Miller too.
The final two victims of his incredible spell were Kagiso Rabada and Tabraiz Shamsi who had no answer to the enigma that Harshal was at the Vishakapatnam. He would make the surface talk to his magical spell and the visitors would eventually be running ashore owing to the phenomenal destruction led by the highest wicket-taker of IPL 2021. The final wicket for Harshal in the series would once again be that of David Miller as he would totally misread the pace and his stumps would be a wasteland.
If Harshal’s excellent bowling figures were something that the Challengers must be pleased about, then DK’s swashbuckling 55 would simply be an icing on the cake. Despite the number not really sounding as titanic as it should, there was a momentous impact of this innings where the Finisher Supreme would highlight the perfect reason for him to be a part of the upcoming biennial extravaganza.
Before we talk about the mind-boggling 55, we need to shed some light on Karthik’s rescuing act of 30 from 21 balls in the second contest of the series, which would eventually go down in a losing cause. On a surface where the ball was doing its bit, the batters found it quite a perplexing code to crack. Dinesh Karthik had his initial qualms but would finally shake off the chains as he started going big. He would garner the final 21 runs of his innings from just 5 balls and that was just the prelude to madness.
The telling blow would come in the fourth contest of the series where India found themselves stuttering at 81 for 4 when DK would walk out to the middle. He would take a couple of overs to get his eyes in and by the time the proceedings were set, from the 15th over, he would grab the cue by both arms and start firing on all cylinders. Carnage, if we may call it, would still be an understatement to the bedazzling brilliance of RCB's very own Finisher Supreme. Without any regard for the line or the lengths that were being subjected at him, he would take flight emphatically with the ball being peppered to every remote nook and cranny of the park and in the quirkiest ways possible.
He would eventually finish his knock at 55 from just 27 balls, racking up destruction at a strike rate of 203.70. He would finish the tournament with a staggering strike rate of 158.62. To sum up the brilliance of Dinesh Karthik, Rahul Dravid would say in an interview, "He is already knocking on the door hard enough", for a place in the T20 World Cup squad later this year.