India's focus is to play smart cricket to win the match: Shikhar Dhawan

That seems to be India's mantra for today's second one-day international against West Indies after Wednesday's humiliating defeat at Kochi, according to opener

New Delhi: Having suffered a humiliating defeat against the West Indies in the first One-Day International (ODI) of the five-match series, hosts India will look to regain some pride and turn the corner in the second ODI at the Feroz Shah Kotla here today.

Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni
Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni practices a shot as coach Duncan Fletcher looks on during India’s training session on the eve of the second ODI against West Indies at Feroz Shah Kotla in New Delhi. Pic/PTI.

India began the series as the overwhelming favourites but were comprehensively beaten in Kochi on Wednesday by a Caribbean side beset by off-field pay disputes.

Shikhar Dhawan
Shikhar Dhawan

India lost by a massive 124 runs at the Nehru Stadium, succumbing to their second biggest margin of loss against a visiting team, nine runs less than their biggest loss of 135 runs in 2002.

“We are positive despite the defeat and are working hard. Our focus is to play smart cricket to win the match. We are a strongly-knit bunch of players and one loss doesn’t affect our moral,” opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan said on the eve of the match.

‘Not worried’
The batting collapse in the last match raised eyebrows, but Dhawan is yet to press the panic button. “Because of one game, you can’t really get worried. It’s part and parcel of the game. Yes, their fast bowlers bowled well but it doesn’t mean we are worried. Next match, spinners might take five wickets but then you can’t start worrying about spinners,” he said.

The West Indies did and still do have problems of their own. The build-up to the match was dampened by an unwanted yet longstanding dispute over a payment agreement that once raised the possibility of the first ODI being boycotted by the visiting team.

But timely intervention by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) neutralised that possibility. In these circumstances, it should have been relatively easy for World Champions India to begin the series with a thumping victory, which should have set the tone for the remainder of the series.

But they began the series on a wrong foot. Guilty of being a little complacent, the Indian bowling were smashed all over the park, chiefly by Marlon Samuels, who helped himself to a stroke-filled unbeaten 126. He was particularly severe towards the end of their innings, dispatching to the boundary anything loose offered by Indians.

Will Kohli fire?
India’s batting line-up too floundered, getting bowled out for 197 runs. The poor batting form that plagued Virat Kohli in India’s tour of England stretched to home soil. “We analysed several games of the India-England series to study some India players. We are trying to expose their weakness. We are aware that beating India at home is difficult and there’s a long way to go in the series,”

West Indies captain Dwayne Bravo said. “This is the best all-round West Indies team I have played in. We are missing Chris Gayle and Sunil Narine but the team is very confident.”

3: The number of Delhi players — Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli and Ishant Sharma — that are part of the Indian ODI team for today’s match against WI

Live on TV: India vs West Indies, second ODI, Star Sports 1 & 3, 14:30

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