MS Dhoni is still the best finisher. 5 times he single-handedly won the match for India

With his career hanging on thin ice, MS Dhoni did what he is known best for, guiding the team to victory and finishing the match

Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s gritty and dogged 45 off 68 balls saw India cross over the line in the 2nd One Day International against Sri Lanka at Palekelle. Mahendra Singh Dhoni walked out to bat when India was losing wickets in a domino effect, credit to a dream spell by Akila Dananjaya. It was MS Dhoni who strategised with Bhuvneshwar Kumar to stitch a partnership of 100 runs. India got off to a rollicking start to chase a target of 231. They cruised to 108 for 1 only to be reduced to 131 for 7. But after that India did not suffer any more casualties and won the match, taking the 2-0 lead in the series.

Before the start of the series, questions were raised over MS Dhoni’s future and the Chairman MSK Prasad made it clear that if Dhoni won’t performs, he’d perish. With his career hanging on thin ice, MS Dhoni did what he is known best for, guiding the team to victory and finished the match. MS Dhoni also created another record by becoming the batsman with the most number of not outs.

In this piece, we will dish out five such instances when MS Dhoni won the game single-handedly for India.

124 against Australia in 2009 at Nagpur: India was playing Australia at Nagpur and India was reduced to 97 for 3 when MS Dhoni walked out to the crease and played a knock that is remembered even after a decade. His 124 came off just 107 balls. He scored at a breathtaking strike rate of 115. Thanks to his maverick, India put a total of 354 on board, which proved to be too much for the visitors, who folded for 155. India won the match and Dhoni was at the centre of it all.

148 against Pakistan in 2005  at Visakhapatnam: This has to be one of his prominent centuries and arguably the most memorable one. This came early on in his career when he hadn’t made his initial opportunities count as he was run out against Bangladesh. But at Vizag, he announced himself on the biggest stage with this knock. Ganguly won the toss and opted to bat first. Dhoni walked into the middle after Sachin Tendulkar fell. Dhoni smashed the Pakistani bowlers to parts as he remained not out on 148 off 123 balls, with a strike rate of 120.32 along with 15 fours and 4 mammoth sixes. India emerged victorious by 58 runs and MS Dhoni received the first of his many Man of the Match awards.

183* vs Sri Lanka, 2005: Muralitharan would still have nightmares about this innings from the former India captain. He may have announced himself at the global stage with the 148 against arch rivals Pakistan but this was the knock that gave a glimpse into the world of how lethal and dangerous he could be. India was chasing 298 at Jaipur, he was promoted up the order and had come to bat at number 3 after Sachin was dismissed off the fifth ball of the first over by Chaminda Vaas. His innings was laced with 15 fours and 10 sixes and strung four important partnerships with Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, Yuvraj Singh and Venugopal Rao. India won the match and the Ranchi lad set the record for the highest individual score by a wicketkeeper batsman.

91* vs Sri Lanka 2011 World Cup finals: It was at the biggest stage, the World Cup final at Wankhede. Dhoni came into bat when India had lost two early wickets and was precariously placed when he again promoted himself ahead of Yuvraj Singh in the batting order. Till then he had just scored 150 runs in the tournament in 8 games. He was certainly due for a big one.  The home team still needed 161 runs from 116 balls with seven wickets in hand. MS Dhoni stitched a partnership along with Gautam Gambhir to turn the dream into a reality. He wiped out the winning runs with a six, which is an etched in the memory of cricket fans.

44* versus Australia in 2012: This is not a big number but the relevance of this small little cameo is huge. India was chasing a score of 270 runs, Dhoni walked in to bat at 178/4. He and Raina forged a partnership together, where Raina was farming most of the strike. But Raina was out, with India still needing 31 more runs from 23 balls. MS Dhoni was still calm and did not show any signs of panic. He took the game into the last over, with India requiring 13 off 6 balls. One felt he had left it too late, but then he hit a six off the third ball of the over. India finally won the match by 6 wickets.

After you watch all these videos, just ask yourself should he retire in the near future?