Indore, Oct 13: Trailing 0-1 in the 5-match One Day International series, MS Dhoni-led India will aim to draw level when they face South Africa in the 2nd match here at Holkar Stadium on Wednesday (October 14).
Chasing 304 in Kanpur, India lost by 5 runs in a last over thriller. Captain Dhoni was under fire for his inability to finish the game. And he accepted the blame for not taking India home.
Ahead of the day-night game tomorrow (1.30 PM IST start), here are 5 strategies which Dhoni and the team management should try in order to get back to winning ways.
1. Virat Kohli to return to No. 3 spot
On the eve of the 1st ODI, Dhoni said it was difficult to accommodate Ajinkya Rahane in the playing XI. But to everyone's surprise the Mumbai right-hander made the cut and was sent at No. 3. However, this should not be the case in the next game. Kohli has been India's best No. 3 in recent times and he should bat there. In Kanpur, he walked out to bat at No. 4 and failed.
2. Drop Shikhar Dhawan and open with Rahane
Left-hander Dhawan has not been in good form in the last 3 games (2 Twenty20 Internationals and 1st ODI). It will be better to try Rahane as an opener with Rohit Sharma and give Shikhar a break. Rahane is not new to opener's role and he can easily fit in. He and Rohit have good understanding as they play for same team - Mumbai, in the Ranji Trophy. They had a century partnership in the 1st ODI.
3. Improve bowling at the death
India's bowling in the final overs has been a big concern. They were ransacked for 86 runs in the final 6 by South Africans in 1st ODI. The team management needs to come out with a proper plan to address this issue. Leaking too many runs between 41st and 50th over has often proved decisive. With R Ashwin's absence due to a side strain, it is more responsibility on the others.
4. Drop Stuart Binny
It was a forgettable outing in Kanpur for Binny. He was hammered for 63 runs in 8 wicketless overs. And when it was his time to bat in the final overs, he succumbed to pressure, walking back to the pavilion with just 2 off 5 balls. His spot should go to Ambati Rayudu or Mohit Sharma, to strengthen bowling.
5. All-rounder Gurkeerat Singh Mann should debut
Uncapped right-hander Gurkeerat should get a chance in Indore. Not only has he impressed with the bat for India A, he has shone with his off-spin as well. Dhoni should try this 25-year-old in place of Shikhar.
India's Playing XI for 2nd ODI
1. Ajinkya Rahane, 2. Rohit Sharma, 3. Virat Kohli, 4. Suresh Raina, 5. Gurkeerat Singh Mann, 6. MS Dhoni (captain and wicketkeeper), 7. Ambati Rayudu/Mohit Sharma 8. Harbhajan Singh, 9. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 10. Umesh Yadav, 11. Amit Mishra.