1. 45* vs Sri Lanka, Pallekele 2017
MS Dhoni does seem to save his best for Sri Lanka and this knock came in the previous series between these two teams. India needed to chase 231 in 47 overs in a rain-marred match. A 109-run opening partnership had put India in the driver's seat but then Akila Dananajaya came into the attack and ran havoc through the Indian batting line-up. India were reduced to 131/7 and it seemed that Sri Lanka would pull off an upset victory. But then Dhoni combined with Bhuvneshwar Kumar and played a chanceless knock to guide India to victory. It is said Dhoni often gets the best out of his partners and that was the case as he helped Bhuvneshwar reach his half-century. Bhuvneshwar later credited Dhoni and said that he coached him throughout his knock!
2. 92* vs South Africa, Indore 2015
Against one of the best bowling attacks in the world, MS Dhoni was the lone warrior for India with the bat as he smashed an unbeaten 92 to help India reach 247/9 on what was a rather flat pitch. He was well supported by Rahane (51) and Harbhajan Singh (22), but largely it was his solo effort which helped India pose a challenging total. Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Axar Patel took 3 wickets each for India as they dismissed South Africa for 225 and recorded a memorable victory. Dhoni was slightly unlucky to miss out on a century but was named man-of-the-match for his effort.
3. 79 vs Australia, Chennai 2017
The game might well be remembered for Hardik Pandya's all-round heroics which guided India to victory but again it was MS Dhoni who did the firefighters job for India in his adopted home town after the team lost wickets in a hurry. Nathan Coulter-Nile's opening spell had reduced India to 11/3 and then 64/4 when Dhoni walked into bat. However, he kept a cool mind and then stitched together a 118-run partnership along with Hardik Pandya, again guiding the youngster through tough times. India eventually managed to reach 281/7 and that proved to be enough as India cruised to an easy victory.
4. 78* vs West Indies, Antigua 2017
This match saw contributions from Rahane and Jadhav as well but what made Dhoni's effort special was the rate at which he scored those runs. It was a slow and sluggish pitch in Antigua, not the most suitable for a player like Dhoni, but despite that he smashed 78 off just 79 balls. He rotated the strike well and helped India reach 251/4 after 50 overs. The Indian spinners then made the most of the conditions with Kuldeep Yadav and Ravichandran Ashwin picking up three wickets each as India dismissed the Windies for 158. It proved to be a comfortable victory for India in the end and Dhoni was named man-of-the-match.
5. 72* vs Pakistan, Lahore 2006
India were chasing a stiff target of 289 and were reduced 190 for 5 in the 35th over when Dhoni joined Yuvraj in the middle. He smashed an unbeaten 72 off just 46 balls and India eventually chased down the target with 14 balls to spare thanks largely to Dhoni's innings. His knock made a mockery of the conditions and the casually violent manner in which he slammed the Pakistan attack was startling. With Yuvraj Singh (79*) for company, Dhoni drove the quicks with a full face of the bat and pulled strongly past square leg when they dropped short. With a flurry of big shots, the chase was completed on the back of Dhoni's whirlwind 72 in a partnership of 102 with Yuvraj.
First Published: December 10, 2017, 3:47 PM IST