When you think MS Dhoni, you think skill! His batting and captaincy skills have stood out compared to most that came before and after him, and the former Indian captain has shown the qualities of ‘passion, skill, and courage’ on many occasions in the Indian T20 League as well.
In Match 2 of our ‘Dil, Dimag, and Dum’ series, we look at some of the best moments from MS Dhoni’s career so far in the yellow of Chennai, where these qualities were on full display.
1. Captain Cool MS Dhoni outfoxes Mumbai in the big final
Dhoni – the captain knows how to win.
He used his match awareness and street-smartness in the 2010 Indian T20 League final, just when Kieron Pollard threatened to take the match away from Dhoni’s Chennai. The West Indies power-striker is known for his ability to effortlessly hit the ball down the ground. Dhoni turned Pollard’s strength into a weakness, placing the tallest fielder of his team at straightish mid-off, a fielding position that was hardly ever seen in cricket.
Pollard fell right into the trap and got out caught to that very fielder. The big wicket eventually won Chennai their first Indian T20 League title.
2. The Chase Master shows a rare bit of emotion
While Chennai won the title that year, they could have been knocked out even before the semi-finals, if not for MS Dhoni. In a must-win game against Punjab at the picturesque Dharamsala, Chennai needed 63 to win off the last 30 balls and it was all up to the famous finisher.
Dhoni, as he often does, took the game to the final over, where Chennai needed 16 to win. There, he smashed two massive sixes and a four off Irfan Pathan to seal the deal for his team. Dhoni kept his cool in a high-pressure situation and took the team into the semis.
In a rare display of emotion and passion on the field, Dhoni then punched his helmet in celebration after hitting the winning six. “It was an emotional moment. Your franchise pays so much money for you, you should at least make the semi-finals,” he said of the celebration.
3. Different colors, same finisher
MS Dhoni has rarely ever had an Indian T20 League season to forget, but the 2016 edition was one such season. Playing for and leading a new team as Chennai were temporarily suspended, Dhoni struggled with the Pune team that year. But even in his worst season, the skipper had a moment to remember.
Pune, chasing a tough target of 173 against Punjab, were reeling at 86-5. They needed more than 85 runs off the last 40 balls and needed something special. He wasn’t in the best form, but Dhoni stepped up that day and used his ‘match reading’ skills to great effect.
He picked his bowlers to target and took the game deep. With 23 to win off the last over, Dhoni waited for spinner Axar Patel and smashed the runs, including two sixes off the last 2 balls to win it for Pune. The smart and calm finisher was at it again!
4. 2018 – The Return of the Lion
2018 saw Chennai returning to the Indian T20 League after 2 years. There was never a doubt that Dhoni would be captain, but he had something to prove. After playing under another player’s captaincy the previous year, Dhoni the captain was back in his element in 2018.
Many expected Chennai to have a tough time on return, but Dhoni had other plans. He led from the front with the bat as well as through his captaincy, getting strategies right and also taking courageous calls when needed. Chennai ended up winning their 3rd title.
5. MS Dhoni – The mentor behind the stumps
Dhoni is known to be a very useful mentor for bowlers from behind the stumps while wicket-keeping.
Earlier in the 2021 season, Rajasthan’s Jos Buttler was smashing the ball all around the park against Chennai. He then hit Ravindra Jadeja for a huge six and the ball was lost. Dhoni knew that the replacement ball would be a lot drier than the earlier one, meaning it would spin more. He indicated the same to Jadeja, who then adjusted his line and length accordingly and got Buttler out the very next ball.
Be it dil, dimag, ya dum – MS Dhoni has shown these qualities time and again to become one of the most successful cricketers in the Indian T20 League.
Stay tuned as we bring you more such interesting ‘Dil, dimag, dum’ moments from the biggest T20 carnival.
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