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2nd ODI: MS Dhoni’s unbeaten 92 helps India beat South Africa by 22 runs

2nd-ODIIndia after scoring a modest score of 247 restricted South Africa for 225 runs in the second ODI at Indore on Wednesday.

India won the match by 22 runs and level the five-match series by 1-1.

After a steady start by South Africa, the Indians led ably by M.S. Dhoni tightened its grip by removing the dangerous looking J.P. Duminy and Faf du Plessis. The pair stitched together 82.

The removal of J.P. Duminy (36) and Faf du Plessis (51) put India in a strong position.

With the injured AB de Villiers out cheaply, India tightened its grip. India left-arm spinner Axar Patel and Bhuvneswar Kumar took 3 wickets apiece.

Earlier, captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni struck a fighting 92 not out as India scored 247-9 on Wednesday in the second one-day international against South Africa in Indore.

Dhoni struck four sixes and seven fours, giving a fine display of batting with the lower order as India fought back after being reduced to 104-5 in the 24th over.

The nudges, quick singles, shot-arm jabs, pulls, cuts, lofted shots over the bowler’s head all were on full display as Dhoni answered back his critics with his knock that came off 86 balls.

‘Captain Cool’ batted with tail-enders with a calm head as India scored 82 runs off the last 10 overs to put on a board a decent total, which at one stage looked impossible.

India were 165 for seven at one stage in the 40th over but Dhoni found great support from Harbhajan Singh (22) with whom he added 56 runs to lift the side.

Up the order, Ajinkya Rahane yet again batted well, scoring 63-ball 51, his second consecutive fifty.

For South Africa, Dale Steyn (3/49) picked up three wickets while Morne Morkel and Imran Tahir scalped two apiece.

The hosts suffered a big setback in the form of Rohit Sharma, who was cleaned up by young paceman Kagiso Rabada the second over of the day.

Shikhar Dhawan (23) and Rahane then played cautiously to resurrect the Indian innings with a 56—run second wicket stand. With the two batsmen finding it difficult to get the boundaries after the early dismissal of Rohit, Dhawan finally broke the shackles with a splendid cover drive off Rabada in the fourth over.

Rahane was not to be left behind as he showed his class by driving on the up, cutting and flicking Morne Morkel for three boundaries in the next over.

South Africa skipper AB de Villiers introduced part-time off-spinner JP Duminy into the attack in the 12th over and Dhawan welcomed the bowler in style, pulling a loosened to the midwicket boundary.

But just when it looked Dhawan was slowly getting back his mojo, the left—hander once again gave away his wicket after getting a start. It was a soft dismissal as Dhawan chipped a slow off—cutter from Morkel straight to Duminy at short cover.

To add to India’s woes, Virat Kohli’s (12) unlucky run continued as he became a victim of a horrible mix up.

In the last ball of the 18th over by Morkel, Rahane was dropped by a diving Farhaan Behardein at mid—off following which the batsmen take a single. Kohli wanted a second run and sprinted back but Rahane stood his ground at the non—striker’s end holding his hand up in the air and in the process both the batsmen ended up at the same end and the bails were whipped off by wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock at the other side.

A livid Kohli had no option but to leave the ground distraught, thereby paving the way for an under—pressure Dhoni to take control of the innings.

Rahane brought up his second consecutive fifty in 59 balls with a cheeky four off Morkel over the keeper’s head.

Morne Morkel and Imran Tahir bagged two important wickets each to peg India back earlier in the day.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni decided to bat first after winning the toss as the home team made three changes to their playing XI.

From the last match, R. Ashwin is out due to injury while Stuart Binny and Amit Mishra have been dropped from the playing XI. Harbhajan Singh, Axar Patel and Mohit Sharma have come into the XI. South Africa are fielding an unchanged side.

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