Just over a year ago, Dinesh Karthik had struck a last-ball six to hand Team India a stunning victory in the Nidahas Trophy final against Bangladesh. Karthik had the chance to replicate his heroics again on Sunday when India needed 16 runs off the final over in the third T20I against New Zealand. Well, history did repeat itself but India ended up on the losing side this time.

Chasing an improbable 213, India ended on 208 for 6 despite early fireworks from Vijay Shankar 43 (28), Rishabh Pant 28 (12), Hardik Pandya 21 (11).

But since the loss, Karthik has been facing the heat not because he failed to take India over the line but because of an incident that took place in the last over of the game. India needed 16 runs off the final over with Karthik on the strike, facing Tim Southee. Karthik started the over on a decent note by picking up a double. However, what happened on the next two deliveries pretty much sealed India’s fate. Karthik let the second delivery of the over go behind the stumps, hoping that it would be a wide but the umpire gave his decision in the bowler’s favour.

And on the third delivery, he managed to hit the ball towards long-on but surprisingly decided against taking a single. Krunal, on the other hand, had already reached the other end of the wicket but managed to get back inside his crease just in time. Karthik failed to hit a boundary on the following delivery too and went on to take a single.

Dinesh Karthik (Credits: BCCI)

Veteran off-spinner Harbhajan Singh has now slammed Karthik for the incident. Harbhajan believes that the incident might have cost India the series-decider, saying that it was an error from Karthik otherwise India could have won the game.

“India have gained a lot for sure. Australia and New Zealand tours are not easy and it was a long tour. Mentally you get tired by the time you reach the last game but overall I feel we have gained a lot. A lot of good things happened, beating Australia in Australia and then coming to New Zealand and dominating them in one-days.

“This last T20I could have gone either way and any team could have won but a little mistake from Dinesh Karthik that he did not take that single and may be we could have won this game too,” Harbhajan Singh told Sports Tak.

With the loss, India long stay in Southern Hemisphere came to an end. The Men in Blue will now take on Australia in a limited-overs series at home later this month.