Dinesh Karthik almost pulled a rabbit out of the proverbial hat as he fell short of finishing off an improbable run chase for India against New Zealand in the third T20I at Seddon Park in Hamilton.
Chasing 213 to win the final match of the three-match series and the series itself, Karthik got together with Krunal Pandya and rescued a chase that looked over when MS Dhoni got out with 68 runs to win off 28 balls.
But as he did in the final of the Nidahas Trophy, Karthik almost pulled off another miracle but in the end, fell short by 4 runs. Karthik finished on 33 runs off 16 balls while Krunal finished on 26 runs off 13 balls. But the former came in for criticism for refusing to take a single when India needed 14 runs off 4 balls in the final over. Karthik's innings had 4 sixes while Krunal's had two boundaries and as many sixes.
Karthik backed himself to finish off the game but that did not happen and Twitter was naturally fuming.
Karthik hit a six off the last ball but that was not enough and he apologized immediately after to Krunal for refusing the single. Taking into consideration, Karthik's fantastic effort, some users took his side.
Winning the toss and bowling first, India conceded a lot of runs due to poor fielding and catching which allowed the Kiwis to score 212. In reply, India lost Shikhar Dhawan early and Rohit Sharma failed to get going. But the visitors were in the game courtesy cameos from Rishabh Pant and Vijay Shankar.
But when Rohit, Pant and Dhoni fell quickly, everyone thought the game was over. It was then that Karthik and Krunal hit the bowlers all around the park to bring the chase down to 16 runs in the last over. But the batsmen failed to get over the line courtesy some smart death bowling by Tim Southee and India lost by 4 runs.