Post his Test retirement MS Dhoni wanted a little comfort. He wanted to enjoy his game, so he wanted more time to play his game and therefore believed he should bat at No.4. But as a senior player, for the juniors to develop better and for the team's sake, he decided instead to return to batting in the lower middle-order and be the finisher for India.

"I would say more about my side of the story," Dhoni said. "If you see once I left Test cricket, I thought 'Now I am going to enjoy my ODI cricket, I want to bat up the order'. But when I come over here, I see my team, I see the playing XI and I find it very difficult to promote myself because we have that pressure of who is going to bat at No.6, who is going to bat at No.7?

"And if you see stretches of cricket where teams have done well, the lower order has contributed a lot irrespective of the format. Your lower order needs to perform. So that was the reason I came back over here and I am still batting at No.5 or 6 because I find it really difficult; I can't really put too much pressure on some of the other youngsters in the side. After playing so many ODIs, if I can't do it, there are not many who will be able to do it. It's something that I have to do."

And he provided a fine example of his skills - if perhaps a modified version where he starts slowly and dabs the ball for singles and twos before flexing his shoulders - in Indore, scoring 92 off 86 balls and remaining unbeaten as he guided India past a top-order collapse.

"I felt we needed partnerships at that point of time," he said. "Once we lost Rahane and a few other wickets fell, I was thinking, 'Maybe I should play the big shot. I am not sure how long the lower order batsmen will survive with me.' But that was the period I said, 'No. Let's look to play a few more deliveries. Let's look to play 50 overs and if a few more wickets fall, maybe [if it had been] the last couple of wickets [that were left] I will look to hit, but it was important that we got some kind of partnership going at that point of time."

But the 247 for 9 that he helped India get to still wasn't anywhere close to his expectations. "I thought it was a score we can look to defend. But it was not a safe score where you say, 'okay let's go in and if we bowl well we will win the game.' What was important for us was getting the early breakthroughs and that was provided by the spinners.

"This is the kind of victory in which the contribution of the bowlers was more than the batsmen, if you compare them, because some bowlers also contributed in terms of runs. In a score of 247, if the bowlers are contributing a score of around 40, that means a lot. I feel very happy about the fact that the bowlers won us the match."

But when asked to rate his own innings, which was vital to giving the bowlers a chance and lifting their morale up as well, Dhoni simply chose to explain the impact of a first victory in this series so far.

"It's a very good victory for us, the reason being, if you see the first game we played at Dharamsala, apart from that one over, you can say those four or five minutes we were really into the game but we were not able to win the game," Dhoni said. "The same thing happened in the last game we played as well, Kanpur, where we were in the game but we lost a few wickets and we lost it at the wrong time because of which we were not able to win the game.

"So a lot of times you play good cricket for maybe 80-90% of the game but it depends whether that 10% bad phase, how bad it was and what was the timing of that particular error that happened, that can had a big impact on the game. I feel this win was very important for us and at the same time its good to see our bowlers defend 250-odd runs on a wicket that was good to bat on."

The Indore crowd played their part as well. Sensing the turning of the tides after Faf du Plessis fell for a well-made fifty and David Miller got a first-ball duck, they produced an enchanting sight. The Holkar Stadium was packed. Well over 25,000 people. And as one, a very large majority brandished their cell phones with the flash on. It was a scene out of a Bruce Springsteen concert. One that made Dhoni and the team take a lap of honour in thanks for their support.

"The people of Indore have supported us a lot, specially when there was a dull phase in the middle when South Africa had a partnership going and we weren't getting wickets. When we got 1-2 wickets, the crowd got vocal. It helps when you are playing at home and have the support of your home crowd. Along with us, they have also supported AB de Villiers - we (fans) share our love freely. If we like somebody, we really get behind them."

But that doesn't mean India are home free. The five-match series is tied 1-1 and Dhoni saw plenty of room for improvement. For example, finding an allrounder who can connect the top-order and the tail.

"No.7 is very crucial," he said. "Even in this game if you see, Mishra was our best bowler in the last game. But we had to drop him, the reason being we want that No.7 to bat. Axar gives us slightly more than Mishra because in the modern game you can't play with six batters and five bowlers. That day is gone, you can't really compete when it comes to that.

"But you need somebody who can bat at No.7. And you know, the few people who are there for us - Stuart Binny is one, Jadeja and Axar. These are the three people who can bowl and bat. Other than that there are not many. There are few others in the domestic circuit who are doing well so we will definitely will like to have a look. Because ideally in this game we would have liked to play Mishra, but it just makes it impossible to think about Mishra batting at No.7 and then Harbhajan or Harbhajan at No.7 followed by Mishra.

"It just puts too much pressure on the batsmen who are on top because in situations like these when you lose early wickets or you lose a few wickets in quick succession in the middle overs, it just puts tremendous pressure on the two batsmen who are batting. Imagine, you are supposed to hit a six, you want to play the big shot, but you have to be 110% sure once you are hitting, it has to go over the boundary.

"So these are the kinds of pressure that you tend to take and there is no easy way out. It's very easy to say on paper that this is the combination we should go with, but excuse me, cricket is not played that way. You need to have people who contribute."