MS Dhoni undoubtedly has been one of the most influential cricketers in the history of Indian cricket and also across the world. The only captain wins all three major ICC trophies, Dhoni led team India during its most successful phase.
He was the architect of the modern Team India, and paved the way for several youngsters o find their way into the team and make their presence felt on the big stage. Thus there’s no doubt that this man had the greatest influence on Indian cricket than another player ever.
The man who took the world by storm with his incredible batting, captaincy wicket keeping and a dozen other skills announced his retirement from all forms of the beautiful game exactly two years ago on this day.
Two years today, all his fans In India and across the world can’t really forget the innumerable moments of pride and happiness that he provided them with during his illustrious cricket career.
It’s time for us to have a look at three of Dhoni’s best performances with the bat for India in his international career.
3) 45*(52) vs Sri Lanka (ODI Tri-Series final – 2013)
One of Dhoni’s most memorable innings for India came in the year 2013 during the final of a tri series against Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka batting first in the match was dismantled by the Indian bowlers as they were bundled out for just 201 runs.
India has a slow and rusty start to their chase as they lost two early wickets of Dhawan and Virat. Rohit Sharma though looked solid at one end, he didn’t find any able company from the rest of his mates at the other end as India continued to lose wickets regularly. MS Dhoni came in to bat at no.6 after the dismissal of Rohit Sharma who went back after a fighting half-century.
Just when it seemed as if Dhoni along with the lower middle order batsman would take India home, another serious collapse began as India lost 5 wickets in a space of 28 runs inside 10 overs. With all the recognised batters back into the pavilion, Dhoni took matters into his own hands and started to steer the innings single-handedly. The match went down to the wire with India needing 15 runs off the last six balls, with just 1 wicket in hand.
Dhoni swung and missed the first delivery which was bowled wide by Eranga. However, he didn’t fail the next time as he finished things off with two sixes and a boundary in the next three balls to help India register an emphatic victory in an impossible looking match. The skipper was also awarded the man of the match for his extraordinary performance with the bat.
2. 113*(125) vs Pakistan (1st ODI – 2012)
Another memorable inning from the bat of M.S. Dhoni came in the first of the three-match ODI series against Pakistan back in the year 2012. India were in all sorts of trouble after being asked to bat first by the visitors. The top order was absolutely demolished as India were reduced to 29/5 inside the first 10 overs.
It was then that the Indian skipper came into bat at no.7 and started to help India make its way back into the game. He first started to rebuild the Indian innings with a very cautious partnership with Suresh Raina. India had just managed to reach 100 when Raina departed for 43.
MS Dhoni however didn’t let the momentum fall as he continued to brilliantly counter the opposition bowlers and find boundaries at regular intervals. He displayed an amazing range of strokeplay and fearless shots across all parts of the ground.
He also took the pace attack on demand which had earlier dismantled the Indian top order. MS Dhoni finished with an incredible 113* off 125 balls including 7 fours and 3 sixes and helped India post a respectable total of 228/6. Though India failed to win the match, Dhoni was awarded the man of the match for his brilliant innings.
1. 91*(79) vs Sri Lanka (2011 ODI world cup final)
The top position in this list is occupied by MS Dhoni’s magical contribution with the bat in the 2011 world cup final against Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka batting first in the final had posted a fantastic target of 275 for India to chase. India in response didn’t have the perfect start as they lost both their openers with 31 runs on the board.
Gambhir and Kohli slightly restabilised the Indian innings but the stand was once again broken before it could become a threat to the opposition. With 3 wickets down for 113, Dhoni stepped onto the field. He brilliantly analysed the situation and played risk-free shots to steer the Indian innings forward.
He found a brilliant company from Gambhir at the other end. The duo added a fine 111 runs for the 4th wicket before Gambhir was dismissed for a well-made 97. MS Dhoni thereon started taking the bowlers on and smashing them for boundaries more often.
He made the most of his being well set on the crease as he never let Sri Lanka bounce back into the match. With 10 balls to go and 6 wickets in hand, Dhoni smashed Nuwan Kulasekara for a mammoth six over long on to bring the world cup back home after 28 years. MS Dhoni was declared the man of the match for his outstanding contribution to India’s magical win that night.