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Dhoni stars as India defeat Proteas by 22 runs to level series

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Indore: Mahendra Singh Dhoni produced a heroic performance to help India secure a 22-run series levelling win in the second ODI against South Africa at Indore on Wednesday.

Dhoni, the limited-overs captain, revived the innings that was repeatedly stalled by a disciplined and incisive bowling effort from the tourists.

Opting to bat first, India were reeling at 124-6 in the 30th over before Dhoni led the rescue act with the lower order. He added 41 with Bhuvneshwar Kumar (14) for the seventh wicket before sharing 56 for the eighth with Harbhajan Singh (22) to help his side post a fighting target of 248.

Dhoni remained unbeaten on 92, while Ajinkya Rahane was the other notable scorer for the hosts with 51.

Chasing the target, South Africa got off to a promising start before openers Hashim Amla (17) and Quinton de Kock (34) were dismissed in quick succession.

Then, Faf du Plessis (51) and JP Duminy (36) tried to steady the innings by constructing 82-run partnership for the third wicket. However, left-arm spinner Axar Patel removed both the set batsmen swiftly to revive the hosts’ hopes.

India sensed victory after removing David Miller (0) and star batsman AB de Villiers (19) and the dismissal of Farhaan Behardien (18) then ended South Africa’s any slim chances of staging a comeback.

Axar Patel and Harbhajan shared five wickets between them as South Africa were bundled out for 225 in the 43.4 overs.

Bhuvneshwar also took three wickets, while Umesh Yadav and Mohit Sharma claimed a wicket apiece.

With the win, India maintained their 100 percent win record at the Holkar Cricket Stadium.

South Africa had won the high-scoring thriller in the first ODI in Kanpur by five runs.

The third one-day international of the five-match series will be played at Rajkot on Sunday. (ANI)