7 instances when MS Dhoni proved he was one of the best finishers ever
MS Dhoni can be termed the father of modern-day Indian cricket. The long-haired guy from Ranchi changed the fortunes of team India by winning them two World Cups in two different formats within a span of 4 years. MS Dhoni is touted as one of the best captains of all time for his top-notch captaincy over the years. MS Dhoni was a genius behind the stumps and a beast in front of it. There are very few cricketers in the world who can match MS Dhoni’s ability to hit the ball out of the park.
MS Dhoni is a power-hitter, one of the finest in the business. He is known as the inventor of the helicopter shot, which requires maximum timing and strength. MS Dhoni is known as one of the best finishers in the game. The former Indian skipper is never under any pressure, which makes him better at his finishing role. MSD has given his fans some iconic moments right from the 2011 World Cup finals to 113* against Pakistan in 2012. These moments surely make MS Dhoni a legendary finisher; let’s have a look at them.
7 instances when MS Dhoni proved he was one of the best finishers ever
64* vs Kings XI Punjab, 2016
As Chennai Super Kings were given a two-year league suspension, MS Dhoni was in charge of the Rising Pune Super Giants. His team was already eliminated from contention for a postseason spot. However, Dhoni still used his big-hitting skills against Axar Patel despite this. In the final over, which Axar bowled, a young left-arm spinner at the time, RPSG required 23 runs to win.
Dhoni dumped the second ball of the over for a maximum after refusing to take a single off the first ball. The next delivery was blocked from going for a boundary by Hashim Amla’s dive, and Dhoni once more instructed Ashwin to remain at the non-striker’s end. MS Dhoni smashed a four in the 3rd delivery and two sixes off the final two deliveries to secure one of the most memorable victories in IPL history.
183* vs Sri Lanka, 2005
Mahendra Singh Dhoni walked out to bat in Jaipur following the loss of Sachin Tendulkar’s wicket in the first over itself. MS Dhoni slashed two sixes off Chaminda Vaas in the first over to start India’s chase for 299. He continued to manage the threat of Muttiah Muralitharan in
the middle overs before making his century in 85 balls with the help of Upul Chandana’s bowling. Dhoni displayed great athleticism and skill throughout the match, even in the later stages, despite cramps, as he maintained a steady scoring rate.
Dhoni finished his incredible innings with a tenth six, leading India to a successful conquest of the 299-run target with 23 balls remaining. His 183* is still the highest score made by a wicketkeeper in a men’s one-day international, and when he walked off the pitch, Kumar Sangakkara, the opposing ‘keeper who made an unbeaten 138*, was the first to greet him with a handshake.
113* (125) vs Pakistan, Chennai 2012
Interestingly, MS Dhoni has played most of his iconic knocks against Pakistan. Pakistan was touring India for a three-match ODI series and a two-match T20I series. Team India decided to bat first against Pakistan in the first ODI, which was being played in Chennai. To everyone’s surprise, the Pakistani bowling duo of Junaid Khan and Mohammad Irfan made lightwork of India’s entire batting lineup as the hosts were down to 5 wickets with just 29 runs on the board.
Skipper MS Dhoni was forced to enter the ground early. However, MSD, alongside Suresh Raina, carried India’s innings forward slowly but steadily. Ravichandran Ashwin also played a crucial part with the bat, scoring an unbeaten 39 runs. MS Dhoni remained not out till the end as he scored 113 runs off just 125 balls. Team India managed to post a decent total of 227 runs which was easily chased by Pakistan. MS Dhoni did everything to keep his side in the game. MS Dhoni deservingly won the “Man of the match” award for his solo effort against Pakistan.
44* (58) vs Australia, Adelaide 2012
David Hussey and debutant Peter Forrest scored individual fifties to post a decent total for Australia while batting first against India. The iconic opening pair of Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir handed India a decent start of 52 runs. Gambhir amassed a massive total of 92 runs, but other Indian batters failed to support the southpaw during the chase. MS Dhoni entered the crease when Gambhir got out, as India needed another 92 runs from the remaining 15 overs.
Dhoni stitched an important partnership with Suresh Raina of 52 runs. However, the match went right down till the last over. India needed 12 runs off four deliveries, and Clint McKay was bowling for the Baggy Greens. Nevertheless, it was quite easy for India’s most efficient finisher as India won the match with two balls to spare. As he often does, Dhoni took the game to the end and then easily won it for his side.
72* (46) vs Pakistan, Lahore 2006
Shoaib Malik-led Pakistan posted a dominating total of 288 runs after choosing to bat first against arch-rivals India. Team India had a mammoth total to chase against a strong Pakistani bowling lineup, and it was never going to be easy. Adding to that, India lost two early wickets in the name of Gautam Gambhir and Irfan Pathan. Legends Sachin Tendulkar and Yuvraj Singh tried to stabilize India’s innings, but at one stage, the visitors were at 190 for 5.
Team India needed 99 runs from just 15 overs and entered MS Dhoni. MS Dhoni didn’t waste any time to start his mayhem against Pakistan. Dhoni scored a total of 72 runs in just 46 balls, including 13 boundaries. MSD combined with Yuvraj Singh (79*) to win it for India with more than two overs in hand. A new finisher was born that day and later became one of the game’s greatest.
45* (52) vs Sri Lanka, Port of Spain 2013
India was facing Sri Lanka in the finals of the tri-series, which included the two countries alongside the West Indies. Ishant Sharma’s stellar bowling figure of 5/30 bundled up the Lankans for a modest total of just 201 runs in 50 overs. However, the Indians had a shaky start during their chase, losing their first two wickets under just 27 runs. Rohit Sharma was carrying India’s innings as he scored a half-century and cemented a good 3rd wicket partnership with Dinesh Karthik of 50 runs.
MS Dhoni entered the game when India was in a comfortable position of 139/4. However, the game took a quick turn as the Indian batters started falling like a house of cards, and suddenly, the Men in Blue were down to 9 wickets with 20 runs still required. The match went down to the wire as India needed 15 runs in the last over. MS Dhoni was on the strike, and Shaminda Eranga was given the responsibility of defending the total. The first ball of the last over went for a dot; however, Dhoni later finished the game by scoring 6, 4, and 6 in the next three balls and won it for India again.
91* (79) vs Sri Lanka, Mumbai 2011
The 2011 ODI World Cup finals were one of the most historic moments for the Indian fans as well as MS Dhoni’s career. No true team India fan can forget the winning six from MS Dhoni to seal the World Cup for India after a span of 28 years. Team India was to chase a huge total of 274 runs against a loaded Sri Lankan bowling attack. Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar got out early in the match, making it more difficult for India. Virat Kohli and Gautam Gambhir combined to put a third-wicket partnership of 88 runs.
MS Dhoni’s decision to enter the game before Yuvraj Singh after Virat Kohli’s wicket was a gutsy move, but it turned out to be a great decision later. Gautam Gambhir is the unsung hero of the match, as he scored 97 runs when his side was in deep trouble. But MS Dhoni is still considered to be the hero of the World Cup.