South Africa skipper AB de Villiers blamed it on the batsmen after they were handed the first defeat of the series by India in the second ODI at the Holkar Stadium in Indore on Wednesday.
India faced an early slump in the first innings of the game. South Africans were in charge until the 40th over when India were batting. But then came Mahendra Singh Dhoni's late flourish, which propelled India to a total of 247 for the loss nine wickets. The Indian captain's incredible knock of 92 runs from 86 balls helped India to post a decent total on the board.
The Indian bowlers had something to play with on a wicket that was acting a little different from what it was expected to be. The wicket became slower and slower to bat on towards the second half of the game and the Indian bowlers capitalised on that.
"The target was manageable but a poor batting performance from us. We had a good start, the top three did well but we couldn't extend it after the opening partnership. We have the experience but unfortunately we got out in soft ways tonight," De Villiers told the media-persons on Wednesday after the second ODI.
AB de Villiers went on to laud the titanic effort from Indian skipper MS Dhoni. South Africa lost the plot as their batsmen kept on falling prey to the traps laid by Dhoni and his bowlers, especially the spinners Axar Patel and Harbhajan Singh. These two claimed half of the South African batting order in tandem.
"A lot of credit goes to MS and his team, they didn't give up till the end and MS played really well. In chases like this you always have to stay positive no matter what total you are chasing. I tried to change my game plan and unfortunately got out in the way. We couldn't execute well. It was a very good performance from our bowlers, but unfortunately we could not pull it through when MS and the tail-ender were batting. We would have loved to chase something like 200," De Villiers added.
"Dhoni was fantastic with his captaincy. The wicket was nice to bat on and the ball was turning only when you bowled it slower. I was trying to ball slower. Here and there a few sixes went but we kept the pressure on and Axar bowed very well at the other end, he took two crucial wickets."