Indore, Oct 13 (IANS) The under fire Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led India will aim for a much improved performance in their quest for a morale-boosting win against South Africa in the second One-Day International (ODI) here on Wednesday.
India trail the five-match series 0-1 after suffering a narrow five-run loss at Kanpur. Rohit Sharma’s swashbuckling knock of 150 runs off 133 deliveries went in vain as India let slip the advantage to slump to the loss.
South Africa scored 303/5, thanks to a blistering unbeaten 104 by skipper AB de Villiers. India’s response was equally strong but they botched up at the end.
The hosts are yet to taste victory since South Africa’s arrival in the country, having lost two Twenty20 Internationals, with the third one abandoned due to rain in Kolkata.
After the T20 series and first ODI loss, India skipper Dhoni has been the target of critics. His poor form with the bat has made them speak loudly about his ability and position in the team.
As much as it is important for the team, the second ODI is much more important for Dhoni as a skipper and a member of the squad.
The player who was known as one of the best “finishers” of ODI matches has lately been unable to complete victories from winning positions for the team.
The first ODI was an ideal position for him to silence his critics by finishing off the game, but his dismissal in the last over of the run chase made it all but impossible for India to snatch a win.
India will again depend on opener Rohit to give them a good start and with the likes of Mumbai batsman Ajinkya Rahane in te squad and amongst the runs, India looks a strong batting unit.
But they need support from the middle order comprising Suresh Raina, Virat Kohli and Dhoni.
On the other hand, the visitors will be high on confidence after scripting a victory from the jaws of defeat.
Young seamer Kagiso Rabada who took two crucial wickets in the last over and defended 11 runs under pressure, will be raring to prove himself in the second match also.
AB de Villiers will again pose a big threat to the opposition and it will be a huge challenge for the Indian bowlers to get rid of the South Africa skipper quickly.