Indore, Oct 14: For the last week or so, the most talked about cricketer in India has been MS Dhoni. Though, it has been for all the wrong reasons. The limited overs captain has been unfairly criticised and the wicketkeeper-batsman decided to shut all them up with his bat.
On Wednesday at the Holkar Stadium, India were struggling against South Africa in the 2nd ODI. And it required a skipper's knock to pull the team out of the woods. Not only did he help India get out of trouble but also sent a strong message to all those making comments on his batting.
The 34-year-old Dhoni hit an impressive 86-ball 92 not out (7x4, 4x6) to help India post 247/9 in 50 overs. He had arrived at the crease when India were in a spot of bother at 82/3 in 18 overs.
When he left the ground, he was undefeated on 92, smashing the last ball of the innings from Kagiso Rabada for a six. He was the highest scorer for the team with his 60th ODI half century. A ton could not come his way as Rabada bowled 5 successive dot balls in the 50th over and the captain too refused to take singles with last man Mohit Sharma (0 not out off 1 ball) at the other end.
In the series opener at Kanpur's Green Park, Dhoni was blamed for the 5-run defeat. He was on the pitch when India needed 11 off the final over from Rabada. He did accept the responsibility for not finishing the game. However, most of the criticism was unwanted.
Today, he came at number 5 and as if to prove a point he unleashed big shots in the end after making a cautious start with the situation demanding that. Dhoni the batsman is not finished yet.
Life was made difficult for Indian batsmen by South Africa bowlers on a good pitch for batting. However, Dhoni batted well with the lower order to ensure the hosts had a fighting total. Still it might not be a winning one.
"He (Dhoni) got his rhythm back today. However, I still believe he should bat at No. 4. He is the most experienced batsman in this line-up," former Indian batsman VVS Laxman told on "Star Sports" after watching Dhoni's magnificent knock. "It is a 300+ wicket," Laxman added.
"He is at his very best," commented former India batsman Sanjay Manjrekar on commentary while Dhoni was batting.