MS Dhoni - the best finisher in modern-day cricket

Cricketnext Staff | Updated: July 12, 2013, 8:17 AM IST
MS Dhoni - the best finisher in modern-day cricket

It's not the first time that he has done it and it surely won't be the last. Although the situation was tailor-made for MS Dhoni to smack the ball, he didn't have the licence to do so as wickets were tumbling at the other end. Clearly struggling with his hamstring injury that kept him out of almost the entire tri-series, Dhoni, as he often does, decided to take the things to the last over and handed out another thrilling victory to his team.

Needing 15 from the last over, Dhoni smashed Shaminda Eranga for 6, 4, 6 to seal the match for India. The way Dhoni finished the game would have made many Sri Lankan players remember the night of April 2, 2011, when he clinched the victory for India at the ICC World Cup final in Mumbai. That time, he went over the long-on fence and Nuwan Kulasekara was the bowler; this time he went over the extra cover boundary as Eranga bowled a length ball. The satisfaction on the Indian players' face was palpable as they came running in to hug their captain, who remained unbeaten on 45 off 52 balls.

How come Dhoni remains so cool and unflustered when there is so much action going on around him? He tried to clarify after the match. "I am blessed with a bit of good cricketing sense. I am also blessed with 15 good players on the field and it shows in our results," Dhoni said after his calculative yet power-packed knock.

Coming in at the fall of Suresh Raina's wicket with India in a spot of bother at 145 for 5 in the 35th over, Dhoni added important runs with the lower-order and in the process hit five fours and two sixes.

The Indian captain was calculative and waited till the end before launching that one final assault which left the Lankans shell-shocked as they were fancying their chances after Rangana Herath's four-wicket haul on a pitch that was not conducive for strokeplay.

"I can look for 15 runs in the last over and I backed myself, as the bowler [Eranga] was not so experienced. I did not take a chance against [Lasith] Malinga or [Angelo] Mathews who are experienced, but luckily it worked out for us," he added.

What would have happened had Dhoni not played this game? Would the young Indian side still have gone on to win the match? No one can answer that but Dhoni's knock has once again exemplified the fact that he is crucial to the Indian team and is one of the best finishers in the limited-overs format.

First Published: July 12, 2013, 8:17 AM IST

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