After leading India from the front to victory against South Africa in the second One-Day International (ODI) at Indore, India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Wednesday slammed his critics, saying that people wait with open swords wanting him to make mistakes.
India defeated the Proteas by 22 runs to level the five-match ODI series 1-1 at the Holkar Cricket Stadium on Wednesday, with Dhoni’s defiant 92 not out and Ajinkya Rahane’s 51 taking India to a respectable, but seemingly below-par 247/9 in 50 overs. During the chase, South Africa kept losing wickets regularly and were bowled out for 225 in 43.4 overs.
“Not an easy game played, a lot of people wait with open swords and want you to make mistakes. We should have got more with the bat and we didn’t start well with our bowling, but our spinners did well and pacers also came into action later on,” Dhoni, who was awarded the man-of-the-match for his knock, said at the post-match presentation ceremony.
For India, medium pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar and left-arm spinner Axar Patel took three wickets each, while off-spinner Harbhajan Singh claimed two wickets. “Axar is not a big turner of the ball and he pitched it in the right areas. Bhajji has the experience and they didn’t try too many different things and flighting or under-flighting the ball was needed and overall they did a good job,” he said.
The skipper believes the team has the capability to perform even better. “Overall not a very convincing win but a good win, we can play a lot better. We’re not playing to our capacity, not even 80 percent, in batting or bowling. As a batting unit, we didn’t perform well but we bounced back well. We knew we needed two good deliveries when Imran Tahir and Kagiso Rabada were batting,” he said.
“I won’t say the game was in our hands but we had a good chance if we bowled in the right areas and needed only two good deliveries,” the 34-year-old said.
Speaking about his batting and the inconsistent top order, Dhoni defended his players by saying, “It doesn’t always go your way (talking about his batting), the top order has been scoring loads of runs in the last two and a half years so lower order doesn’t get a big chance to bat.”
“Apart from Suresh Raina there’s nobody who loves to do that kind of a job when you go out and you just have to go for the big hits. The pace was very important on this wicket and the length too,” he said.