Dinesh Karthik
Dinesh Karthik was replaced by Axar Patel in the second T20I.

As India lost the second Twenty20 International to South Africa, Axar Patel batted in place of Dinesh Karthik.

South Africa maintained their winning momentum in the second Twenty20 International against India, winning by four wickets in Cuttack to take a 2-0 lead in the series. Henrich Klaasen’s 81 off 46 balls with seven fours and five sixes helped the Proteas to 149 all out with 10 balls to spare. In the Indian innings, Axar Patel was promoted ahead of Dinesh Karthik and drew a lot of criticism from supporters on Twitter because it didn’t work out well. Speaking at a press conference after the game, batsman Shreyas Iyer explained the choice, saying that the necessity of the hour was to rotate the strike as compared to hitting fours and sixes.

Before being dismissed by Anrich Nortje in the 17th over, Axar had scored 10 runs off 11 balls.

An undefeated 30 from Dinesh Karthik helped India reach the 140-run target.

“As you can see, this is something we discussed in the beginning. We had seven overs left, Axar Patel is someone who can take singles, who can keep rotating the strike and we did not require someone to come in and straight away start hitting from ball one at that point in time. Even DK can do that, certainly but, DK has been a really fantastic asset for us after 15 overs where he can come in and straight away slog the ball,” remarked Shreyas during a post-match news conference.

“Even he was struggling to get started today. A big part of our success in today’s game was due to the wicket, and I expect we’ll also continue to use that strategy in the upcoming match. If you check the past games, we have done this move plenty of times so yeah, it is one of those days,” he continued.

South Africa won the toss and elected to bowl in the second Twenty20 International. It took India 20 overs to reach 148/6 with Shreyas Iyer on 40.

After 21 balls, Dinesh Karthik was still undefeated on 30. Anrich Nortje took two wickets for South Africa.

Despite Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s four wickets, India was unable to protect its total.

On Tuesday, India and South Africa will face a battle in the third Twenty20 International.

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