MS Dhoni, bowlers inspire India to 22-run victory against South Africa
India 247-9 (Dhoni 92no) beat
South Africa 225 (du Plessis 51) by 22 runs
Second One-Day International, Indore
India made three changes to their line-up. Ravichandran Ashwin, Stuart Binny and Amit Mishra made way for Harbhajan Singh, Axar Patel and Mohit Sharma.
South Africa, as expected, went with an unchanged line-up before India won the toss and decided to bat first.
After a testing first over from Dale Steyn (3-49), Rohit Sharma (3) succumbed to a pacy delivery from Kagiso Rabada (1-49) in the second over.
Shikhar Dhawan (23) looked nervy at the other end although Ajinkya Rahane (51) upped the ante by hitting Steyn for three boundaries in the fifth over.
Dhawan brought up the Indian 50 in the 11th over with a boundary off JP Duminy (0-59). The 56-run stand came to an end when Morne Morkel (2-42) had Dhawan caught at extra cover with a slower delivery.
There was a moment of madness in the 18th over, when Farhaan Behardien (0-4) dropped Rahane at mid-off and the ball went past him. Virat Kohli (12) wanted the second run but was sent back by Rahane, resulting in Kohli’s run out after both batsmen were stranded at the non-striker's end.
India were 82 for three after 18 overs at that stage. Rahane brought up his half-century off 59 deliveries with an upper cut to the third man boundary.
However, he was bowled around his legs in the next over by Imran Tahir (2-42). Suresh Raina's (0) poor form continued as he became the victim of a short ball from Morkel - caught on the leg-side leaving MS Dhoni (92 not out) stranded at the other end.
Dhoni stitched a crucial 41-run stand for the seventh wicket with Bhuvneshwar Kumar (14) and another 56-run stand with Harbhajan (22) to take India to 221 for eight in the 47th over.
The Indian captain brought up his fifty in 57 deliveries with a huge six off Duminy, who went on to concede 17 runs in the 43rd over.
Dhoni clobbered another six and a four in the 45th over to take India to 212 for seven and would need 14 runs in the final over of the innings to reach a superlative hundred.
But it was once again Rabada who bowled his heart out as he managed five dot balls and conceded a six from the final delivery. India reached 247 for nine in their 50 overs.
Chasing 243 for a win, South Africa were on the attack straightaway adding 36 runs in the first six overs. Patel (3-39) provided India with the much needed breakthrough, Amla (17) stumped as he looked to attack the left-arm spinner.
Quinton de Kock (34), who looked at ease attacking the Indian bowlers, went after Harbhajan (2-51), only to find the long-off fielder. South Africa reached 56 for two in 10 overs.
Faf du Plessis (51) and Duminy (36) resurrected the innings with an 82-run stand, looking extremely comfortable as they plundered Umesh Yadav (1-52) for three boundaries in the 23rd over.
However, it was Patel who brought India back in the game again, dismissing both settled batsmen in successive overs to leave South Africa at 141 for four at the half way mark.
AB de Villiers (19) came in to bat at five because of a back injury he sustained in the previous innings. David Miller (0) failed yet again as he edged a Kumar (3-31) delivery without troubling the scorers.
With the pressure mounting on South Africa, de Villiers went after Kumar, scoring a six and a boundary in the 31st over. South Africa needed 85 more to win from 19 overs with five wickets in hand.
Mohit Sharma (1-21) got the prized wicket of de Villiers, brilliantly caught by Kohli in the covers. Steyn (13) too departed soon after he plundered a six and a four of Harbhajan with the Proteas needing 60 more to win in the last 13 overs.
Behardien (18) hung in for a while before he was controversially given out caught behind down the leg side by umpire Vineet Kulkarni, denting South Africa's chances further.
South Africa reached 200 for eight in the 40th over. Tahir (9) and Rabada (19 not out) added 21 for the ninth wicket but the last two wickets were cleaned up by Kumar in the 44th over handing a 22-run victory to India.
Kumar and Patel were the pick of the Indian bowlers with three wickets each while Harbhajan managed two. With the win India have levelled the series 1-1.
Dhoni was named as the man of the match for his match-winning unbeaten knock of 92. The focus now shifts to Rajkot where the third ODI will be played on 18th October.
© Cricket World 2015