There is no better player in the history than MS Dhoni when it comes to the job of finishing the games in the limited-overs cricket. The number of instances where Dhoni remained in successful chases makes him the most experienced player in such situations.
However, Dhoni’s performances as a finisher in his International cricket could easily be separated in two halves. In the first half, the former Indian captain was brute on most occasions but in recent times, he has been quite calculative which pushed India in troubles as well.
Here we look at seven instances from MS Dhoni’s International career when his batting cost the Indian team:
7. ODI vs Sri Lanka in Rajkot, 2007
Rajkot hosted the 2nd ODI between India and Sri Lanka during the 2007 4-match series after the first match in Kolkata ended without a result. The Indian pacers reduced Sri Lanka to 58/4 after winning the toss. However, Kumar Sangakkara smashed 11 fours and four maximums during his 127-ball 110 to power the Lankans to 257/8 with the help of partnerships with middle and lower-order batsmen. The fifties from Sourav Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar put India in the drivers’ seat before they lost three quick wickets.
MS Dhoni was joined by Dinesh Karthik when India were 169/5 in 30 overs. The duo put on 66 from 94 balls for the 6th wicket as India were only 23 runs away from a win. At a stage, India needed only 38 runs from 9 overs but Dhoni did not show any urgency even after Karthik’s dismissal as RRR went over 6 from 4.22. Dhoni was batting on 43 off 63 balls having not hit a boundary ahead of the final over when India needed 11 runs to win.
India earned only one run despite Dhoni being strike on the first three balls and also saw Anil Kumble getting runout. MSD registered his first boundary of the innings by smashing one down the ground on the 4th ball of the over bowled by Sanath Jayasuriya. With six runs needed from the last two deliveries, Dhoni tried to clear the fence over the cover region but found the fielder in the deep. The last batsman Sreesanth failed to connect the final ball of the match as India lost by 5 runs.
6. T20I vs New Zealand in Chennai, 2012
India were set to face New Zealand in a 2-match T20I series after a comfortable 2-0 win in the Test series over the visitors. The first match to be hosted by Vizag was abandoned without a toss. New Zealand lost two wickets for just two runs on the board after losing the toss. However, they were rescued by Brendon McCullum who scored 91 from only 55 balls with 14 boundaries to push the Kiwis to 167/5 in their 20 overs.
Virat Kohli was determined to finish off the chase on his own. Opening the innings, he scored 70 from 41 balls and was dismissed when India needed 48 off 40 balls. MS Dhoni walked to bat alongside Yuvraj Singh who was making his comeback after recovering from cancer. Yuvraj was 20 off 11 balls when India lost their 3rd wicket in form of Kohli. India scored only 16 runs in the next 22 balls as skipper Dhoni scored only 9 runs from the 15 balls he faced.
A maximum by Yuvraj in the penultimate over left James Franklin to defend 13 runs in the last over. Seven runs came from the first three balls including a boundary by Dhoni. However, Yuvraj was cleaned up on the 4th ball trying to ease the chase with a boundary. Dhoni was stranded at the non-striker’s end while the new batsman Rohit Sharma took the strike. Rohit was in a woeful form going into this match but did his best to take a couple each on the last two deliveries but left India two runs short of a win.
5. T20I vs England in Birmingham, 2014
The 2014 tour of England was a mixed one for India as they lost the Test series 1-3 after taking a 1-0 lead. However, they bounced back in the ODI series which they won by 3-1 margin with a hat-trick of wins. The tour was set to conclude with a one-off T20I at the Edgbaston. The England skipper Eoin Morgan scored 71 from only 31 balls having struck as many as ten boundaries.
Morgan’s knock helped the home team to finish with 180/7 in their 20 overs. Virat Kohli was in woeful touch through the tour having not scored even a fifty across 14 innings. However, he changed the things in the one-off T20I where he scored a quick-fire fifty. Kohli scored a 41-ball 66 with 9 fours and a maximum after bringing down the required rate below nine. MS Dhoni walked in after his dismissal when India needed 50 runs from 34 balls. In the 22 balls from there on, India managed to score only 24 runs.
Dhoni took nine singles in ten balls he faced in this period as the equation came down to 26 from the last two overs. Dhoni showed the first sign of smashing big as he struck his first boundary during the penultimate over but the T20I debutant Ambati Rayudu missed out on a scoring chance on the last two balls. Dhoni was on the strike for the final over bowled by Chris Woakes where India needed 17 runs.
The Indian keeper-captain began the over with a six and followed with a couple. He miscued the 3rd ball but denied to turn back the strike to Rayudu. Dhoni found the fence on the 4th ball to bring the equation down to 5 runs from two balls. Yet again on the penultimate ball, Dhoni hit one straight to the fielder and retained the strike by refusing a single. Dhoni could only pick a run on the last ball as he failed to get the connection and left India three runs short of England’s total.
4. ODI vs South Africa in Kanpur, 2015
South Africa began their 2015 tour of India with a 2-0 win during the T20I series. Skipper AB de Villiers gave a good start to the Proteas in the ODI series as he scored an unbeaten 104 from 73 balls to help his team finish with 303/5 in the Kanpur ODI. Dhoni walked to the crease with 90 runs needed from 60 balls after the dismissal of Virat Kohli. India were placed at 214/3 after 40 overs thanks to an unbeaten hundred from Rohit Sharma. The duo of Rohit and Dhoni added 55 runs in the next six overs.
The Indian opener alone scored 42 runs in 20 balls in those six overs while Dhoni made only 9 runs in 16 balls. Rohit’s scoring rate helped to ease the require rate pressure but Dhoni’s struggles kept South Africa in the game. Rohit was eventually dismissed on the first ball of 47th over after a 133-ball 150. Suresh Raina also got out in the same over aiming for a big shot as equation came down to 31 from 3 overs. Dhoni was batting on 10 from 17 balls at the start of the 48th over.
He scored 18 runs in the next ten balls he faced as India were left to chase 11 runs in the last over to be bowled by Kagiso Rabada. Dhoni had to clear the 4th ball at any cost as only four runs came from the first three deliveries. But the Indian skipper could only get the ball high in the air which ended up in the hands of Rabada. The speedster got the wicket of Stuart Binny on the penultimate ball and gave away just a single on the last delivery to seal a 5-run win for the visitors.
3. T20I vs Zimbabwe in Harare, 2016
MS Dhoni took the decision of touring Zimbabwe for ODI and T20I series in 2016. It was the first time he was leading India in Zimbabwe and his first to that country in 11 years. India thumped the hosts in the ODI series which they sealed by 2-1 margin. Zimbabwe looked in trouble during the first T20I where they were reduced to 111/5 by the start of 16th over. Elton Chigumbura hit a record seven sixes during his 26-ball 54 as the hosts ended up with a solid total of 170/6.
India lost early wickets in the run chase but Manish Pandey made 48 from 34 balls to keep down the RRR floating around 10 in the second half. Dhoni came to bat when India needed 81 from 46 balls but failed to score at a quick pace. He took singles which led to the pressure increasing at the other end. After Pandey’s dismissal, Axar Patel scored a quick 18 from only 9 balls. He was dismissed on the 2nd ball of the final over when India needed seven more runs to win.
Dhoni took a single on the first ball of the over and repeated the same on the 3rd ball. He got back to the strike on the last ball of the innings when India needed four runs. Neville Madziva bowled the final delivery close to the wide line which didn’t give a chance for Dhoni to get proper contact. Only one run came off that ball as India lost the match by two runs. The Indian skipper remained unbeaten on 19 from 17 balls.
2. T20I vs West Indies in Lauderhill, 2016
Soon after the Zimbabwe tour, India toured Caribbean Islands for a 4-match Test series. During that series, a 2-match T20I series was planned between the two teams in the USA. In the first T20I, the West Indies openers Evin Lewis and Johnson Charles blasted a 126-run opening stand in only 9.3 overs. Lewis scored 100 from only 49 balls to see West Indies finish with 245/6. India’s chase was boosted by an 89-run partnership for the 3rd wicket between Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul in only 7.1 overs.
MS Dhoni then joined Rahul as the duo added 101 in only 43 balls with Rahul alone scoring 57 from 22 balls. India needed only 8 runs in the 20th over to be bowled by Dwayne Bravo. The pacer delivered an over full of his typical slower deliveries and the first one deceived Dhoni who edged to the short third man where Samuels dropped an easy catch. India picked singles on the first four balls and Dhoni picked up a couple on the penultimate delivery.
The last delivery was a replica of the over’s 1st ball as the Indian skipper edged straight to Samuels who didn’t drop again. This meant KL Rahul’s quick-fire knock resulted in a defeat as India lost the match by mere one run. Dhoni ended on 43 from 25 balls at a strike rate of 172 easily lowest among the five players who faced 20+ balls. Lewis, Rahul, Charles and Rohit all had a batting strike rate of 200+. Had India ended on the winning side, their chase of 246 would have been the highest ever in T20 history.
1. ODI vs West Indies in Antigua, 2017
India toured West Indies for limited-overs series after losing the Champions Trophy final in 2017. India was leading the series 2-0 by end of the 3rd match and was set to seal the series in Antigua. West Indies were restricted to just 189/9 in their 50 overs despite each of their top five scoring 20+ runs. Umesh Yadav and Hardik Pandya claimed three wickets apiece while Kuldeep Yadav bagged two wickets.
India lost three quick wickets but Ajinkya Rahane’s 91-ball 60 helped the visitors stay in the hunt. Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja scored quick runs but were dismissed without finishing. India was seven wickets down by 47.3 overs with another 17 runs more to be scored. The required rate was well under control through the chase as it never climbed as high as 8 in the first 48 overs. Barring a couple of overs, the RRR stayed under 6.5 but Dhoni’s inefficiency hurt India towards the end.
India needed 16 runs from the last two overs but they could only get two runs in the 49th over alongside losing the wicket of MS Dhoni. The wicketkeeper-batsman needed 109 balls to bring up his fifty and finished the innings with a strike rate of 47. India lost their last two wickets in the 50th over where they needed 14 runs to win but got only two runs. As a result, the home team won the match by 11 runs and reduced the Indian lead in the 5-match series to 2-1.
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