The best five last-over finishes of MS Dhoni in limited overs cricket

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The best five last-over finishes of MS Dhoni in limited overs cricket

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SportsCafe Desk

01/04/2017

Indian limited overs captain MS Dhoni is one of the best finishers in the game, and here is the list of five of his best finishes in cricket. From the 2009 India vs West Indies match to the recent match against Kings XI Punjab, here are our top-5 last-over finishes by MS Dhoni.

There is a famous saying ‘When the going gets tough, the tough gets going’. Indian limited overs captain MS Dhoni exemplifies this quote with his last-over finishes as he has taken India over the line many times in the dying moments of matches. Here are five of his best last-over finishes so far.

1. India vs West Indies, Gros Islet 2009.

The four-match series was tied at 1-1, and the third match was a crucial one for both the teams, as a win would have guaranteed the winner a hand on the trophy. The toss took place after several delays, and West Indies managed to score 186 from the shortened innings of 27 overs after they were asked to bat, and Nehra was the pick of the bowlers for India. The match was further shortened to 22 overs before India came out to bat, and the Indian openers gave the perfect start to the team. Dhoni walked into the crease in the 13th over after the fall of the first wicket with 75 needed off 59 balls, and India wanted someone like Dhoni to stay till the end. In the last over, with 10 runs required to win, a leg bye gave India a run. The next ball was a slower one which was smacked into the stands by MSD. With a 2 and ,1 from the next two balls, India were left to score just one 1 off the last 2 balls. MS Dhoni finished at 46 and was awarded the Man of the Match.

2. Chennai Super Kings vs Kings XI Punjab, Dharamshala 2010

It was the last group match for both the teams. Kings XI Punjab were out of the tournament, and  after having their worst season so far, it was a must-win match for CSK to enter the semis. The hosts were asked to bat first and made full use of it and scored 192 at the end of 20 overs. When 'Thala' came into the fray, CSK still needed 105 runs to win off 10 overs. Despite some heavy-hitting by Dhoni with support from Badri, by the end of the 17th over when Badri left, CSK had 44 runs to make off 18 balls to reach the semis. As it went down to the wire, CSK were left requiring 16 runs off the last over.

Irfan Pathan was to bowl the last six balls of the match, and Dhoni was on strike. The first ball was not bad, a wide ball, almost a yorker, but Dhoni powered it through the long-off for a four. The second ball was not bad at all – slow and back of a length and Dhoni skied it. Piyush Chawla was slow off the blocks and messes up a potential catch. The third ball was a missed yorker, and Dhoni bludgeoned the ball a 106 metres over the long-on fence well above the stands. Cricinfo's commentary famously read “McLeodganj, send the ball back please!”. Another scorching six over long-off and CSK were through.

It was an intensely emotional moment for the man. He was so pumped up, so pumped up that he dealt himself a solid uppercut as he ran down the pitch shouting to himself past team-mate Morkel. He had seen bigger stages and won in them, but this night was something special.

3. India vs Australia , Adelaide 2012

After a horrendous Test series, India were scheduled to play a tri-series with Sri Lanka and Australia. It was the fourth match of the series, and Australia chose to bat in some perfect conditions. Peter Forrest scored a fifty on his debut which took Australia to 269. While chasing, Dhoni came to bat in the 35th over after the fall of Gambhir.  Dhoni took India within striking distance in the company of Suresh Raina and then Jadeja before he as well fell by the wayside. Clint McKay came into bowl the last over with 13 runs still needed. Ravi Ashwin made just one run off the first two balls. And then, Dhoni launched a towering six over long on in the third ball of the over. The next ball was a high full toss that Dhoni swung to deep midwicket straight into the hands of Warner, but then, a no-ball was called for height. In the next delivery, Dhoni took the safe route and made three runs for India, as India defeated Australia by 4 wickets with 2 balls remaining.

4.India vs Sri Lanka, Port-of-Spain 2013

India were facing Sri Lanka in the final of the tri-series,. India had won the toss and put Sri Lanka to bat first and restricted them to a mere 201 thanks to some brilliant bowling from the Indian bowlers. In return, the Indian top order failed barringRohit Sharma, and it was left to Dhoni and the tail enders to take the match forward. The equation was simple at 47.5 with 17 runs needed off 13 balls. But Dhoni nudge in the last ball found the fielder, and Ishant Sharma at the runner's end had to dive back into crease after running headlessly down the pitch for a non-existent single. More desperation from Sharma followed in the 49th over when he could not find a run off the first three balls. It was one of the few instances when you witnessed an absolutely livid Dhoni venting his emotions on the field, but Sharma wasted the last two balls as well making only 2 off the over.

With 15 runs needed in the last over, things were set to go down to the wire. But Dhoni felt otherwise. He asked for a replacement to his bat, and suddenly the air in the stadium was buzzing with anticipation. No runs came from the first delivery of the over, and then Dhoni went mad -  it was 6,4,6 off the next three and the first six was so huge that it ended up in the roof of the stadium.

With that, India had lifted the Tri-nations tournament. MSD, evidently, was the Man of the Match!

5. Rising Pune Supergiants vs Kings XI Punjab, Vishakhapatnam 2016

This match was more about pride than anything else - both the teams were out of the tournament already. Pune had struggled through the league as its batsmen kept marching to the infirmary one after the other, and when Punjab scored 172, it seemed as if Pune would lose the last match as well. In came Dhoni in the 12th over with 95 runs needed off 52 balls. Irfan Pathan left immediately after and Thisara Perrera departed in the penultimate over after some lusty blows. Pune still needed 23 runs from the last over.

Axar Patel came over to bowl the final over, and delivers a brilliant first ball down the middle that even Dhoni could not get away. After a wide, the next ball saw Dhoni respond with a mighty club over long-on for a six. On the next ball, Hashim Amla made a brilliant fielding effort to stop a definite boundary from out of nowhere, and the equation came to 16 off 3 balls.

The next ball saw a ferocious flat shot from Dhoni that landed just short of the cover boundary. 12 needed off 2 balls. And Dhoni moved to make room and clobbered the next one over the deep midwicket ropes. 6 needed off 1 ball. And then, Dhoni managed to do the impossible with another six off the last ball again through midwicket! It just ain't over until MSD says so!

This feature was originally published on Sep 1, 2016. 

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