MS Dhoni India South Africa
India captain MS Dhoni admires a big shot of his during the 2nd ODI against South AfricaReuters

Ah MS Dhoni can't bat anymore they said; lost his finishing skills apparently, after failing to do so in one match. Can't hit a six anymore, they added, after struggling for one season. Doesn't justify his place in the team anymore, some of the former cricketers said, just because he quit Test cricket.

MS Dhoni, the undisputed India captain – and he should be in the limited-overs format – walked in at an "oh man I don't want to go in right now" time, with India on 82/3, having just lost the wicket of their best batsman Virat Kohli and that too via a needless run out.

Then he saw Ajinkya Rahane throw his wicket away after reaching his 50, something the India skipper never, never does, before having to witness Suresh Raina jump around like a cat on a hot tin roof off the bowling of Morne Morkel.

Dhoni then had to witness Axar Patel flatter to deceive yet again, before finally finding an able ally in the calm and composed Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

Through it all, there was only one certainly in this car-crash of an Indian innings – Dhoni will not get out and he will be there till the end.

Having that assurance at one end is priceless, and something that all the Indian fans, pundits and what-not took/take for granted. So, the moment the great man shows signs of struggle, everyone's quick to jump on the always-easy-to-jump-on critics bandwagon, when what we all really need to do is support the man unreservedly.

Dhoni has earned that much respect, and this 2nd ODI in Indore against South Africa showed just why he is one of the all-time one-day greats.

If Dhoni has not played his 92 off 86 balls (7x4, 4x6), India would have gotten all out for under 150, with Rohit Sharma, the man India have relied on so much, falling early, and Shikhar Dhawan failing with the bat again.

Kohli cannot seem to catch a break in this series – be that with the batting order (now that is something you can criticise Dhoni about) or the run outs – and with Rahane yet to convince he is that dependable, will-get-a-hundred-quite-often batsman in ODI cricket, it was all up to Dhoni again.

How easy Dhoni made it look as well. Despite being under severe pressure, as wicket tumbled from one end, Dhoni never looked ruffled; never got himself into a hole he would have struggled to get out of.

Instead, he dug India out of a serious hole, and played the kind of innings we have seen time and again -- cool, calm, assured and priceless.

And that 92 at least gives the India bowlers a sniff of a chance, when for the longest time it looked like they might as well pack it all up and hand the game to South Africa after the first innings.

And that brilliant Dhoni innings proved to be the difference between defeat and victory for India, as South Africa fumbled under some good bowling from the home team.

Win or no win, what this knock from Dhoni showed was that the people waiting to write his career epitaphs might just have to wait a little (more like lot, really) longer.

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