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January 16, 2013
India's captain, MS Dhoni's, purple patch continued as he smashed 72 from 66 balls to help his side beat England by 127 runs, in the second ODI, played in Kochi on January 15.
India's batsmen were made to work for their runs on a pitch that that was sluggish and favoured bowlers at the start. England made early inroads and dismissed India's openers, Gautam Gambhir and Ajinkya Rahane, with the scored locked on 18.
Virat Kohli and Yuvraj Singh saved their side some blushes with a 53-run stand. But both fell after putting in the strides. Their departure brought Dhoni to the crease. He and Suresh Raina started tentatively while their found their feet.
While Raina fell for 55 in the 40th over, Dhoni stayed and stepped on the gas in the last ten overs. He and Ravindra Jadeja took on, first, Chris Woakes, then Jade Dernbach and then Steven Finn smashing them to all parts.
England had sensed they held an element of control, at the very least, for much of India's innings but 108 runs from the last 10 overs, 68 from the last five, shook that notion to the core.
Dhoni struck seven fours and two sixes before falling, in the 50th over, to Dernbach, for 72. He and Jadeja's final onslaught helped India scale 285.
Dhoni said the failure of the batsmen to go on when well set as a "big problem". He said: "If three or four batsmen make 50, then it's important at least one or two of them go on to make at least 75. So that the new batsmen coming after them, when say two quick wickets fall, then they won't feel that much pressure. Yes, I would like them to convert their starts to a big innings so that it won't put pressure on the rest."
Cook described Dhoni as one of the best batsman in the world in the final overs. "You're always going to have hindsight, but probably one batsman you don't want an offspinner bowling to is Dhoni," Cook said.
"We've seen him a number of times and with a spinner at the end, it's very hard to bowl to him. So, look, clearly when you get hit for 68 runs in the last five overs, you think, maybe you could have done things differently. But at the time, for me, it was a very big gamble to make."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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Who will replace the increasingly worn-down Clarke? And can Kohli keep his emotions in check enough to be a good captain?