Indore: South Africa captain AB de Villiers blamed his batting unit for their 22-run defeat to India in the second cricket ODI here today, saying the batsmen should take responsibility for their inability to chase down what was a "below par score" on the placid wicket at Holkar Stadium.
He lauded his bowling department for restricting India to 247 for nine but felt they should have easily chased down the target, especially after getting partnerships in the middle.
"Our bowlers did very well but unfortunately we didn't bat that well. It was a very good wicket. Most of the dismissals were pretty soft. We had great partnerships going upfront and with that kind of experience we should be finishing games," de Villiers told reporters at the post-match press conference after India levelled the five-match series 1-1.
"I think the responsibility will be on the batters' shoulders tonight. It's not nice to lose that way. Quite a few lessons will be learnt. Partnerships cost us the game today.
"240 was below par and it's up to the top seven to win games for us. The turning point was the breakthrough of the partnerships we had upfront. Hashim (Amla) and Quinton (de Kock) started really well then Indians broke through. Then Faf (du Plessis) and JP (Duminy) did really well in the middle but we did not make the partnerships count. We had ourselves to blame," he said.
India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, facing the toughest phase of his international career, rose to the occasion with an unbeaten 92 to guide India to a respectable 247 for nine and then showed his witty leadership acumen with smart bowling changes to bundle out South Africa for 225 in 43.4 overs.
And De Villiers lauded his Indian counterpart for keeping a cool head.
"It was a very good start with the ball in hand. I thought it was a 300 wicket actually. Unfortunately we couldn't break MS (Dhoni). He is an experienced campaigner. He batted well with the tail. You got to give him credit for that. We tried everything in the book to break that partnership. But he managed very well and paced the innings pretty well otherwise we would have chased 200 tonight," he said.
"You got to give credit to MS and Indian team. They never gave up with the bat and ball in hand. But we should have won that game."