The pressure is mounting on India middle order batsman Ambati Rayudu to hold on to his spot after yet another scratchy effort.
Rayudu, batting at number four, hit 47 from 49 balls as India made 324-4 in the second ODI against New Zealand in Mount Maunganui.
However, it was due to the late charge by MS Dhoni (48 off 33 balls) and Kedar Jadhav (22 off 10) that India crossed the 320-run mark as the slow batting – by Rayudu especially – had at one stage threatened to restrict India’s total closer to 300.
Rayudu struggled to get going in the ODIs against Australia and was below his best in the two ODIs in New Zealand.
Struggling to get his timing going, Rayudu failed to raise the tempo in the final 10 overs despite being 32 off 29 balls at the 40-over mark. Jadhav has managed to score at well over run a ball whenever he has had a chance.
With India having fine options like Dinesh Karthik, young Shubman Gill and even the ‘out of squad but in the mix’ Rishabh Pant waiting in the wings, the team management must be thinking about getting Dhoni to bat at number four and having better power hitters at numbers five, six and seven.
Dhoni has shown that he can anchor the innings while the likes of Jadhav and Karthik have done well in the death overs.
The Kiwis were bowled out cheaply in the second ODI – for 234 – so Rayudu’s innings didn’t hurt Virat Kohli much. But the fact remains India should have been closer to 350 after being 173-2 after 30 overs. Another day and another team might have made India pay.
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