Dinesh Karthik had an unusual day at the office during the 2nd T20 between India and South Africa in Cuttack. Karthik came to the crease with six overs remaining in India's innings.
Four overs after he came to the crease, Karthik had faced 14 deliveries and scored just eight runs. The pressure was certainly there, and with Harshal Patel at the other end, the responsibility to finish the innings off rested on his shoulders. Now consider this, you are coming off a monstrous IPL, been given a dream second wind in the Indian team, and a shot at Australia is on the line.
Let's continue - Your first proper international match after a dream comeback, and you come to the crease in front of a packed Cuttack stadium that has been stunned into silence. Half the side is back in the hut, you are batting with a bowler on the other end, and the responsibility to finish the innings is all yours.
What does Dinesh Karthik do? Well, he pulls off a Dinesh Karthik. Nortje came in to bowl the penultimate over, and he smacks him for two boundaries to end the over. One over backward square leg, and one behind square on the off side.
Pretorius came in to bowl the last over. Harshal sliced the third ball of the over to extra-cover and could have taken a couple, but Karthik refused as he wanted the strike.
Well, if Hardik can deny him the strike, he can surely deny it to Harshal. The next two balls went for maximums and Karthik powered India to 148.
The next two balls showed why Karthik is playing where he is. It reminded everyone in the stadium, in the Indian dug-out, and to the fans sitting at home that Karthik is here to stay. He isn't going anywhere.