RAJKOT: A blistering half-century by Dinesh Karthik and a quick-fire 46 from Hardik Pandya helped India set a 170-run target against the Proteas in a T20I at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Rajkot in a crucial tie of the five-match series.
India need to win the match to stay alive in the series as they are trailing South Africa 1-2.
Put into bat, the Indian team got off to a poor start losing Ruturaj Gaikwad for 5 in the second over of the match. Lungi Ngidi scalped the first wicket for South Africa as the opener was caught behind by wicket-keeper Quinton de Kock.
In the next over, debutant Marco Jansen made Shreyas Iyer his first T20I victim by dismissing him leg before wicket for 4. India were tottering at 24 for 2. In-form Ishan Kishan looked good as India were 40 at the loss of two wickets in six overs of mandatory powerplay.
Anrich Nortje then dismissed the southpaw immediately after the powerplay for 27 as India lost their third wicket for 40.
Captain Rishabh Pant and Hardik Pandya then took the team's total beyond the 50-run mark in 7.4 overs.
Pant and Pandya batted steadily as India were 56 at end of 10 overs.
Pandya kept on playing big shots while Pant played the anchor's role.
The 41-run partnership was broken as left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj dismissed Pant for 17 off 23 balls to leave India in a spot of bother at 81/4.
Dinesh Karthik walked in to bat with Pandya and the duo took the team's total beyond the triple-figure mark in 15.1 overs.
Both the batters batted aggressively to accelerate the scoring rate. Karthik continued the way he played in IPL.
The 65-run partnership was broken as Lungi Ngidi got his second wicket. He dismissed Hardik Pandya for 46 off 31 balls as India lost half of its side for 146.
India reached the 150-run mark in 18.3 overs. Dinesh Karthik notched up his maiden T20 international half-century in just 26 balls by hitting a six.
In the very next ball though, he was dismissed by Dwaine Pretorius for 55.
Brief scores: India 169/6 in 20 overs (Dinesh Karthik 55, Hardik Pandya 46; Lungi Ngidi 2/20) vs South Africa.
Catch the live score here: https://cricket.dtnext.in/CricketSite/details.html?tid-2007&match-6109