- India beat NZ by six wickets in the first ODI at Dharamsala.
- Kohli's result of 3-0 win in Tests has put Dhoni under pressure for a similar result.
- Dhoni is 61 runs away from completing 9,000 ODI runs.
It may be just another ODI in a bilateral series, but there is a lot at stake for Dhoni, who has been under pressure ever since Test skipper Kohli led India to the No. 1 ranking following a 3-0 whitewash.
With India up, 1-0 in the five-ODI series, Dhoni and his men would like to reassert themselves at the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium to further consolidate their lead.
Dhoni will not tinker much with the playing XI from last game. Meanwhile, Suresh Raina will also miss the second ODI after failing to recover from a bout of viral fever.
At the face of it, there is apparently no danger to Dhoni's captaincy since the team is still winning matches. But if one digs deeper, Kohli has slowly and surely been the man everyone is looking forward to as a leader.
A 'clean sweep' in Test series with a career-best double hundred, followed by an effortless 85 not out in first ODI, Kohli has time and again showed as to how it is done "leading from the front."
For Dhoni, it's now about showing the world that he is far from being dubbed as a spent force in limited-overs after earning sobriquet of 'best-finisher" some years back.
While Kane Williamson's BlackCaps is struggling to stay afloat in the series, India's 'Captain Cool' is fighting a different battle to remain the 'supreme' commander' of 'Men in Blue'.
Dhoni is still supremely fit and agile behind the stumps. His captaincy acumen cannot be questioned. Testimony to that was the decision to make Hardik Pandya open bowling and Kedar Jadhav fill in the role of a part-time off-spinner.
But then runs aren't exactly coming from Dhoni's bat. The big hits aren't being executed with perfection that used to be his hallmark, a few years ago.
He was run out for 21 in the last game. Although that didn't affect the outcome of the match in any way, the skipper knows only too well that he has to play a few impact innings in coming weeks.
No wonder Dhoni's intensity while batting at Kotla nets during an optional session was clearly seen. For the record, he is61 runs away from completing 9000 ODI runs.
Last Updated 31, Mar 2018, 6:31 PM IST