Mahendra Singh Dhoni is widely regarded as the best finisher in the game. He is arguably one of the finest limited-overs cricketers. Dhoni has won many games for India. His finishing skills were next to none. But just like how all great things come to an end so did Dhoni’s match-winning prowess. His conservative approach cost India many games.
StumpsandBails looks at 5 games where Dhoni’s batting approach cost India the game:
#5 T20I vs England in Birmingham, 2014
India and England were engaged in a tense T20I game in 2014 at Edgbaston, England. The home team had scored 180/7 in their 20 overs. Virat Kohli set the tempo for the run chase with a quickfire 41-ball 66. The required rate was below 9 when Kohli departed. 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. This left India wanting to chase 17 runs in the last over.
Dhoni 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 managed to just a single off the last ball and India lost the games they should have won comfortably.
#4 ODI vs South Africa in Kanpur, 2015
AB de Villiers, captain of South Africa scored an unbeaten 104 from 73 balls in the first ODI against India to help his team finish with 303/5. Dhoni walked in a crucial juncture in the game. India needed 90 runs from 60 balls after the dismissal of Virat Kohli. Rohit was dismissed on the first ball of 47th over after a 133-ball 150. He fell owing to the pressure being built on the other hand.
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. Kagiso Rabada bowled a superb final over to bowl Proteas to victory. Dhoni had to clear the 4th ball at any cost as only four runs came from the first three deliveries. India failed despite Dhoni’s presence till the last over. This defeat was a sign of things to come.
#3 T20I vs Zimbabwe in Harare, 2016
Zimbabwe were 111/5 at the start of 16th over batting first against India. Elton Chigumbura hit a record seven sixes during his 26-ball 54 as they posted a total of 170 for 6. Manish Pandey’s 34 ball 48 from 34 kept India in the hunt. Dhoni came to bat when India needed 81 from 46 balls. But Dhoni struggled to get going. After Pandey’s dismissal, Axar Patel scored a quickfire 9 ball 18. He was dismissed on the 2nd ball of the last over that left India with seven more runs to win.
Dhoni had to score a boundary off the last ball to secure a victory. But all Dhoni could manage was a single. The Indian skipper remained unbeaten on 19 from 17 balls. Dhoni failed yet again.
#2 T20I vs West Indies in Lauderhill, 2016
India and West Indies squared off in a 2 match T20I series in the USA. In the first T20I, Windies batting first posted a mammoth 245 runs. India replied in rollicking style scoring almost 12 runs per over right until the final over. They needed just 8 to win off the last over. Dhoni and KL Rahul were at the crease.
Dwayne Bravo was entrusted to bowl the last over. Dhoni was on strike for the final delivery where India needed 2 runs. Bravo outfoxed him and India lost the match by a single run. Dhoni scored at a strike rate of 172. He was the lowest striker among five batsmen who scored more than 20 runs. It was another sorry finish headlining MS Dhoni.
#1 ODI vs West Indies in Antigua, 2017
India were to chase just 190 runs. The chase was expected to be a cakewalk but it turned out to be otherwise. Dhoni scored one of the slowest half-centuries in the history of ODI cricket. He scored 54 runs off 114 balls that effectively crashed India’s hopes. India went on to lose the game they should have bossed.
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