India won a perfect toss and chose to bat first, and the stage was set for Shikhar Dhawan, faith from MS Dhoni firmly on his side, to make an impression for the first time in this Freedom Series against South Africa.

The importance of the left-hander making a big score, considering he is one of the key top three for India, only increased when Rohit Sharma, looking so good, fell to Chris Morris in the fifth over of this 4th ODI in Chennai.

However, yet again, and almost way too predictably, Dhawan failed to produce the goods, playing a poor pull shot to a short ball from Kagiso Rabada in the eighth over, which went off his glove and into the right glove of the flying Quinton de Kock.

The theory behind persisting with Dhawan is that he is a match-winner, the kind of player who can take the game away from you, with the fact that he is a left-hander – so the right-left combination stays in place at the top – also helping.

However, it is plain as day for everyone watching Dhawan batting in this series that he is not in form; not even remotely.

Not once has he looked capable of going on and making a big score in this series; pretty much all of his innings have been struggles, with the previous one in Rajkot, when he scored a painful 13 from 29 balls in a key chase, being the perfect example.

Dhawan, who averaged 7 in the T20I series and has averaged 16 in this ODI series -- was not in the greatest of touch in this match either, with that glorious timing of his still to make its way to his blade.

When the impressive Rabada dug one in short, and Dhawan failed to execute the correct pull shot, it was, unfortunately, far from a surprise, with his wicket almost expected.

Yes, it was a big game for India, considering they had to win this match to stay in the Freedom Series, but surely it would have made more sense to promote Ajinkya Rahane to the top and give one of Ambati Rayudu and Gurkeerat Singh Mann an opportunity.

However, that faith – faith is a good thing, but the key question is how long do you keep it -- was kept and Dhawan, who is not the quickest of fielders, and can't roll his arm over to effect either, failed to repay it, yet again, leaving India in a spot of bother, and, probably, wondering what might have been had they gone another way with the selection.