MS Dhoni– the man whose name became synonymous with hope, belief and trust has called time on his career the way only he could. What Sachin was for the children of the 90s, Dhoni was for the ones who grew up in this millennium and some more. He taught India how to win big. He taught India how to win from improbable situations. He also taught India even if you lose, there’s a new match to be played soon.
His swagger, his smile, his cool and calm demeanour. There was nobody like him. His belief in a young team in 2007 gave the game the IPL. His belief that a team nobody believed in could win a tournament gave Indians a brand they can be proud of today. Dhoni gave India a lot more than victories in cricket matches.
Dhoni also made Indians believe in themselves. He made us understand the importance of being competitive yet humble. He made us believe it’s important to be sincere, not serious. In any situation, if MS Dhoni was right there, ‘Abhi Dhoni Hai voh sambhal lega’ became a common phrase in all households.
In a glittering career, India’s World Cup win will always be the most memorable. Apart from his spectacular innings of 91* in the finals, his ability to bring together legends and youngsters and form a cohesive unit was the key to building a champion team.
And that six. It will be the greatest memory of every Indian cricket fan for the longest time. All cricket fans knew this was coming. And we also feared MS will go away silently as he did from Tests in 2014. And he has, through an Instagram post. The greatest Indian captain and finisher decides to retire from international cricket this way. It could have only been MSD.
In his outstanding career which spanned almost 16 years, he played a number of brilliant innings across formats. But it was the One-Day format which well and truly belonged to MS Dhoni. In 49 innings, he stayed not out while chasing, India lost just 2. Even while batting first, he played several incredible innings.
While innumerable memories rush back from Dhoni’s career, let’s have a look at 5 innings where Dhoni rescued India:
1. 95 off 130 balls vs West Indies, 2009
India had toured West Indies for an ODI series in 2009. They were coming off a good run of form, having lost just 3 ODIs in their last 18 games. While India regulars like Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag had been rested for the series, India still had a strong team and that was evident in their first match where they scored 340 and won the match by 20 runs. The 2nd ODI was a completely different story altogether.
The conditions were helpful early on for the bowlers, and West Indies took full advantage of that and reduced India to 7-3. However, Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni got together and started stitching a partnership together like they had in several matches and it seemed as though the initial hiccup was behind them. Unfortunately, Yuvraj was dismissed with the score at 54 and India collapsed from there to 82/8. Dhoni was the last man standing and came to the rescue.
He wasn’t at his fluent best but on a tricky pitch, he put his head down and dug in and kept accumulating runs while farming the strike. He brought up a record 100-run partnership with RP Singh for the 9th wicket of which the latter had scored only 23.
Dhoni had dragged the innings to the last over, and although he couldn’t get to his 100, the 95 was as good as any other innings of his. India did not end up winning the match, but it was another game which showcased the extraordinary ability of Dhoni to stand up whenever the team required him to.
2. 113* of 125 balls vs Pakistan, 2012
It is an occasion whenever India and Pakistan play each other in cricket. Over the years both the teams have had some iconic and fiercely competitive games. Due to political tensions, the number of games played between Indian and Pakistan have reduced drastically which makes each meeting of theirs even more highly anticipated. While the last time India toured Pakistan for a series was way beyond a decade, Pakistan’s last series in India was the 2012 limited-overs series.
After the T-20I series finished with each team taking a match apiece, it was time for the ODIs and not to forget India were World Champions at that point in time. Batting first in the game being played in Chennai, to the shock of all Indian fans India collapsed to 29-5 within 10 overs. The overcast conditions assisted the Pakistan pacers and they made full use of it by pitching the ball in the right areas and destroying India’s top order with Junaid Khan picking 4 wickets.
Indian fans feared India may collapse to one of their lowest totals ever that too against their arch-nemesis. But Dhoni saved India the blushes big time. He had a useful partnership with Raina, who scored 43 and then a 115 run partnership with Ravichandran Ashwin and finished not outscoring a magnificent 113.
He weathered the storm initially where he was thoroughly tested by the fierce Pakistan pace attack. Despite not having an accomplished partner at the other end for a majority of the innings, he accelerated as much as he could to give a fighting total.
3. 92* of 86 vs South Africa, 2015
The first signs of Dhoni ‘the finisher’s’ ability waning were evident in the first ODI between India and South Africa in Kanpur in 2015. Chasing 304, Rohit Sharma had done the bulk of the work scoring a classy 150. However, he was dismissed in the 47th With 11 required off the last over, it was Dhoni vs Kagiso Rabada.
The young turk who had just made his debut a few months back got the better of the veteran as he dismissed Dhoni on the 4th ball of the over and South Africa won by 5 runs. It wasn’t just the last over. Dhoni had come in to bat number 5 in the 40th over and had struggled to time the ball right from the beginning and looked extremely rusty.
The result of the match drew in a lot of criticism for Dhoni with a lot of people pronouncing that Dhoni was done. In the 2nd ODI, India was again staring down the barrel and a potential 2-0 deficit in the series after the middle order had collapsed again and India was placed at 124-6. Dhoni took the matter in his own hands. As he had done well all his career, he set out to first build partnerships and then eventually went for the final onslaught and successfully managed to get 72 runs off the last 8 overs.
2. 45* of 68 balls vs Sri Lanka, 2017
India and Sri Lanka series have always been very competitive. However over the last half a decade, with India’s growing superiority, most of the series have been pretty one-sided. But none as much as India’s tour of Sri Lanka in 2017 when India clean sweeped Sri Lanka 9-0 across formats.
Despite such a crushing victory, India did get a scare or two from a much weaker Lankan team especially in the 2nd After being completely dominated by India in tests and the first ODI where India beat them by 9 wickets, Sri Lanka put up another below-par score of 236 in the 2nd match.
India seemed to be galloping away to another easy win when they were 108 for no loss in just 15 overs. But Akhila Dhananjaya had different plans. The crafty offie bowled a dream spell and had India somehow reeling at 131-7 picking up 6 wickets in just 4 overs.
While it looked like India would taste their first defeat on their tour, it was that man again M.S Dhoni who would have none of it. Dhoni, along with Bhuvneshwar Kumar, successfully played out the remaining overs of the dangerous Akhila and got together building yet another partnership over by over.
The stand out part about this innings was the fact that Dhoni backed Kumar. He kept giving him the confidence and guided him right through the innings. As a matter of fact, Bhuvneshwar Kumar who had grown immensely in confidence towards the latter part of the innings actually outscored Dhoni and brought up his half-century and sealed a tough victory for India.
1. 45* of 52 balls vs Sri Lanka, 2009
Sri Lanka was perhaps Dhoni’s favourite team to face in ODIs. He averages 64.4 against them in 67 games having scored 2383 runs. His highest score of 183* as well as the World Cup-winning knock 91*, both were against them. But one of the lesser talked about Dhoni innings against Sri Lanka is the one he scored against them in the Celkon Cup final in 2013.
Having just lifted the Champions Trophy against all odds with a very young team in England, Dhoni and co arrived in the Caribbean Islands to play West Indies and Sri Lanka in a tri-series termed Celkon Cup. Unfortunately for India, Dhoni was injured after the very first match and looked unlikely for the rest of the tournament. However, Dhoni’s deputy at the time Virat Kohli assumed the mantle and led well to take India to the finals. Despite not being 100 per cent fit, Dhoni took part in the finals.
Batting first. Lanka scored an above par 201 on what was a very difficult wicket to bat on. Sri Lankan bowlers bowled very well and completely dried out the runs, and apart from Rohit Sharma who scored a well made 58, nobody could hang around for long. Dhoni came into bat with just 60 runs required in almost 18 overs. But just when India thought they would comfortably win the match, they lost 3 quick wickets found themselves precariously placed at 152-7. With Dhoni not at his best, it seemed like the match was getting out of their hands.
From requiring 27 of 7 overs, the situation came down to 15 runs off the last over with just one wicket remaining. It seemed as though Sri Lanka had managed to squeeze well enough and in a bid to farm strike, Dhoni had let too much to be left for the end.
Shaminda Eranaga bowling the last over, bowled a dot ball first up and with 15 needed off 5, the game was firmly in Sri Lanka’s hands. But it was Dhoni time. In a matter of minutes and just 3 balls, Dhoni smashed 6,4,6 and the game was over. Sri Lanka couldn’t fathom how things slipped away so quickly after having dominated almost the entire 2nd But that was Dhoni did all through his career.
Source: The source of this content is our cricket news platform Crictracker.
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