Dinesh Karthik and Krunal Pandya were launching a great fightback when India needed 68 runs in the last five overs during the third and final T20I in Seddon Park, Hamilton on Sunday. The right-handed Karthik started the fightback by launching right-arm pacer Blair Tickner over the long-off fence. Krunal Pandya got India back in the game with two fours and a six off Tim Southee in the 18th over. Both batsmen struck a six each off Scott Kuggleijn in the 19th over as India needed 16 off the last over. After a couple and a dot in the first two balls of the final over, Karthik drove the third ball to long-on but he refused to take the single. On the fourth ball, he drove a full ball to mid-off and banged the bat onto his pad. Krunal managed only a single and on the last ball, Karthik lofted Southee over extra cover for a six but New Zealand won the match by four runs to win the series 2-1.
Immediately, after Karthik hit a six, he apologised to Krunal for not taking the single but with the batsman not taking a single, he was subject to intense criticism from social media, with some people criticising him and asking the Tamil Nadu wicketkeeper to retire. Some pointed out that Krunal had gotten the better of Southee a couple of overs ago and could have done the job.
@DineshKarthik dude! pandya hit 14 runs of southee in the previous over. Why the fuck would you not take the single? That was arrogant and total lack of sportsmanship! Despicable! You just lost all respect!— Mridul Meharia (@MridulCreates) February 10, 2019
in last over this things should not be done.... every ball n run is important....— Shah Raj (@Raj0725_shah) February 10, 2019
Time to turn on the discussion chart. Should @DineshKarthik have taken that single? Or do you think his action was justified?— Ajith Chandran.K (@Ajith_Chandran_) February 10, 2019
Also it was absolutely amazing of him to say SORRY to krunal right after the final ball was delivered#INDvNZ #NZvIND #NZvIndT20 #dk #IndianCricketTeam
Blaming Dinesh karthik for thay single run is stupid. He was the one who brought that fight closer. The one who played bad today was openers. You can't play for just 38 out of 32 balls. Rohit sharma wasted so many balls in the beggining only.#INDvNZ— Raja Mittal 🇮🇳 (@savage_nar) February 10, 2019
The decision by Karthik to not take the single drew parallels with the time MS Dhoni refused to give the strike to Ambati Rayudu during the one-off Twenty20 International against England in Birmingham in September 2014. Needing 17 runs off the last over bowled by Chris Woakes in their chase of 181, Dhoni blasted a six over deep midwicket and took a couple as India needed nine runs off four balls. On the third ball, Dhoni refused the single but he dispatched Woakes over mid-off for a boundary to get the equation down to 5 off 2 balls. On the fifth ball, Dhoni hit to deep square leg but refused the single again and on the last ball, managed just a single as India lost by three runs. The decision by Dhoni, at that time, was subject to immense criticism.