Five times MS Dhoni finished the job

MS Dhoni

By Daniel Beswick

Hit For Six!

Once again lighting up the IPL with another classic finish, we take a look at five times the wicket-keeper/batter prevailed on the international scene.

Dhoni announces himself: 2005 v Sri Lanka

While Dhoni ended the third of seven ODIs against Sri Lanka with a six, it would be remiss to only acknowledge the finish in what was a complete batting display that belied his level of experience.

Chasing 299 in Jaipur, Dhoni walked out to bat in the first over, following the loss of Sachin Tendulkar.

The knock turned out to be the beginning, middle and end of India’s victorious chase, smashing Chaminda Vaas for two sixes over cover to make the early mark, before negotiating the threat of Muttiah Muralitharan in the middle overs. Dhoni took a liking to Upul Chandana, and brought up his century in 85 balls.

Mixing in smart running with telling blows, Dhoni experienced cramps in the final stages, though his scoring rate was unblemished.

His tenth six was the final blow in his assault, and India had chased down the target of 299 with 23 balls to spare. The 183* is still the highest score by a wicketkeeper in a men’s one-day international and the first to shake his hand was opposing ‘keeper Kumar Sangakkara, who made an unbeaten 138* himself.

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Awesome in Adelaide: 2012 v Australia

Dhoni’s calm in the heat of battle was exhibited in India’s chase of Australia, timing his run in spite of losing a pair of partners at the other end. 

Coming out at 178/4 and still needing 92 for victory in the final 16 overs, Dhoni accumulated at a decent rate considering boundaries were tough to come by.

Suresh Raina was bowled in the 47th over of the chase with India still 39 short of the target, and Ravindra Jadeja fell with the visitors needing 13.

Dhoni could have easily lost his head after failing to score off the final two deliveries of the penultimate over, though he held his nerve in another show of calm.

Ravichandran Ashwin squeezed a single, handing Dhoni the strike with 12 needed off the final four balls. Dhoni then went on to hit the quick down the ground for six, and the blow led to victory in the mental game between the pair. McKay delivered a waist-high no-ball, before a pull behind square for three sealed the deal.

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An exhibition for the neutrals: Tri-series final v Sri Lanka in Port of Spain

Six partners fell at the other end, but once again Dhoni kept his poise, hitting Shaminda Eranga for two sixes and a four in the final over in another impressive display, this time at the Queen's Park Oval.

Chasing just 203, India collapsed from 139/3 to 182/9, with Rangana Herath (4/20 off 10 overs) the destroyer.

Dhoni insisted it was he who would have the last say, working the ball around with Ishant Sharma at the other end, who faced just seven deliveries in the chase.

Needing 15 from the final six balls, Dhoni ordered a new bat from the dressing rooms and finished the job, with the final blow hit over extra cover.

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The perfect part in Pakistan: Lahore, 2006

Busy, but not in a hurry – Dhoni’s 72* in 46 balls against Pakistan in Lahore was a telling example of his chasing philosophy.

Two early wickets put the Men in Blue on the back foot early on their path to 292, and another double blow across the 34th and 35th overs meant India had lost half their wickets still needing almost a hundred.

India fans would need not to worry though, with Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh again seeing off any Pakistan challenges with the ball. The pair put up a 102-run stand, out of which Dhoni contributed over two-thirds with 52 runs in boundaries, as India raced through the finishing tape.

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India win the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 with Dhoni’s match winning six
ICC Cricket World Cup 2011, Final; Sri Lanka (274-6) v India (277-4). India won by 6 wickets

Forever in folklore: 2011 World Cup final v Sri Lanka

Of course, a list of Dhoni finishes would be incomplete without his crowning moment. Unflustered by the pressure of a World Cup final, nor his lean trot at the tournament leading up to the match, he stepped up.

After Virat Kohli’s dismissal in the 22nd over, India were in a precarious position at 114/3 when Dhoni decided to send himself up ahead of Yuvraj Singh. Making his first half-century of the tournament off 52 balls, the hosts moved past 200 in the 38th over, and were well-positioned even after the loss of Gautam Gambhir in the 42nd over.

Yuvraj joined Dhoni, who had paced the chase with aplomb. At 71 (72) and needing 27 for victory off the final four overs, he pushed the foot down. He hit three of the four boundaries across the next two overs to take the game away from their rivals, and in the penultimate overcame the killer blow.

Overpitching, Nuwan Kulasekara watched the white ball fly over his head and into the Wankhede stands, with Dhoni’s on-drive forever etched in folklore, and ending his country’s 28-year long wait for a 50-over title.

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