• AB blames batsmen for defeat

    Proteas captain AB de Villiers says the batting order ‘let the team down’ in South Africa’s loss by 22 runs to India in the second ODI on Wednesday.

    It was South Africa’s first loss of the tour, but it’s a game they should have won after a good bowling performance restricted India to 247-9.

    South Africa looked in control of the chase and were cruising on 134-2 with Faf du Plessis (51) and JP Duminy (36) at the crease, sharing a 82-run partnership.

    Duminy’s lbw dismissal, missing a sweep shot, started a mini collapse as the visitors lost three wickets in three overs going from 134-2 to 142-5. David Miller’s poor run of form continued with a duck off the first ball he faced.

    Quinton de Kock threw his wicket away at the top of the over with an unnecessary shot to long-off. AB de Villiers played a poor shot to get caught by Virat Kohli for 19 and his wicket made a big difference to the rest of the chase.

    South Africa finished on 225 chasing a score that India felt were about 30 runs short of a good total.

    ‘I think the turning point was the breakthroughs of the partnerships we had upfront,’ De Villiers said. ‘I thought Hashim [Amla] and Quinton [De Kock] started well before the Indians broke through there. Then JP [Duminy] and Faf [Du Plessis] batted well and there was another breakthrough.

    ‘We know that if you get two or three partnerships in your top seven, you have to make it count and we didn’t do that. Myself and Farhaan [Behardien] also got going but didn’t make that count. At the end we only have ourselves to blame, but on the flipside you have to give credit to MS Dhoni and the Indian team, they never gave up with the bat and ball.’

    A fighting unbeaten knock of 92 by Dhoni helped India reach an underwhelming 247-9. In the end Dhoni fell short of a well deserved hundred, but his innings off 86 balls proved vital in helping India reach a score they could bowl at, and they did just that.

    South Africa’s bowlers were dominant with the ball to dismiss India for an average score on the traditionally high-scoring ground, and had set their targets on a lower total had it not been for Dhoni’s man-of-the-match onslaught in the latter overs.

    ‘It was a good start with the ball in hand,’ he said. ‘I thought it was a 300 wicket, I thought the bowlers did extremely well and unfortunately we couldn’t break through with Dhoni and the tail-enders. He has done it before, he is a serious campaigner, he batted well and you have to give credit  to that.

    ‘We tried everything in the book to break the partnership and I thought we did really well to get down to number nine and ten in the end but he paced his innings really well.’

    De Villiers defended the positive start from the batsmen, and said it was necessary regardless of the total they were chasing. The squad will move to Rajkot for the third ODI with the ‘ball in their court’ according to the skipper, as the momentum continues to swing in the five-match series.

    ‘I thought it was a good wicket. I felt in and even if they bowled me another 500 balls tonight I would have played the same shot. I didn’t execute well enough and I thought most of the dismissals were soft. We had great partnerships upfront and with that kind of experience we should be finishing games.

    ‘I think the responsibility has to fall on the top seven. It’s never nice to lose that way but quite a few lessons will be learnt.’

    Picture: Associated Press

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