Dhoni: Born to absorb pressure

India needed 15 off the last over in the Tri-Nation Series final against Sri Lanka, but Dhoni sealed the win in style.



New Delhi: To call India’s victory over Sri Lanka in the tri-series final on Thursday a Houdini act would be a great injustice to Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

The mind boggles when one tries to imagine the pressure on the skipper – 15 to get off six balls on a difficult Queen’s Park Oval wicket, and the last man at the other end. Failure is never an option, given the emotional nature of the Indian fan.

Dhoni called for a change of bats, picking the heaviest rapier in his repertoire. “I went with a heavy bat, the weight was perfect for slogging,” he later said.

The first ball from the pacy Shaminda Eranga produced a huge swing and a miss. Dhoni walked to square leg, regrouped, and came back.

Dhoni says he backed his instincts to hit winning runs
Magnificent Dhoni snatches trophy from Sri Lanka

Coach feels Kohli should keep learning from Dhoni


Eranga bowled a length ball next up, and Dhoni freed his arms to deposit it deep into the second tier down the ground.

Next up, a wide delivery that was slashed away behind point for four, followed by another length ball that was thrashed over extra cover for six. Job done and dusted, all on a hurting hamstring.

“I think I am blessed with a bit of good cricketing sense. I knew I could get 15 runs off the last over. I’m happy that it worked,” he said. “Sometimes you don’t really wait to be 100 hundred per cent fit. The problem with a hamstring injury is that there is a chance of re-occurrence. Since it was the final and we have two months off after this, I thought about taking the risk.”

Dhoni seems to have been born to absorb pressure. The equation wasn’t as difficult three overs before the end, but Lasith Malinga still had an over up his sleeve. Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews put him in charge of the 48th, and Dhoni took just two runs off it. No sweat.

Mathews’s aggressive move had paid no dividend, and he took it upon himself to deliver the death blow, trying to avenge every heartbreak the islanders have suffered at the hands of the Ranchi lad in the last few years. Unfortunately for him, Ishant Sharma proved as stubborn as Dhoni in resistance, protecting his wicket and giving the captain the exact launch pad he wanted.

“At times in these low scoring matches, you need to play boring cricket. It doesn’t matter whether you win in the 48th or 49th over,” he said.

It is no secret Dhoni loves the Sri Lankans — he averages 61.35 in 57 matches against them. Neither is his love for finishing a chase — in 72 successful chases, Dhoni averages a humongous 100.09, inflated no doubt by his penchant for staying unbeaten.

The most memorable example of both these facts came two years ago when Dhoni cracked that memorable unbeaten 91 to drive India to the World Cup title.

And once again, with a trophy on the line, Dhoni put his neck on the line and got it for India.

History will remember him as one of India’s greatest one-day players, and probably the greatest finisher this format of the game has ever seen. But for Dhoni, magnificence is just another day at the office.


LESSER- KNOWN DHONI FACTS

He didn’t always have straight hair. His curly hair was straightened and coloured by Dhiraj of Kaya Salon in Ranchi.

Used to ride around on his roommate Robin Kumar’s Bajaj Pulsar in Kharagpur, while he himself had only a bicycle. Now owns 14 motorcycles, including the Rs 28 X- 132 Hellcat.

Wasn’t as fond of milk as is generally believed, but used to drink it since he didn’t his friends’ favourite lassi. Couldn’t be away from cold drinks, though.

While his colleagues in Kharagpur would party and consume alcohol, Dhoni never showed interest in it. He was happy with chocolates instead.

The bat with which he played the last over of Thursday’s chase weighed a colossal 2kg. In contrast, Sachin Tendulkar, who is known to use one of heaviest bats in world cricket, usually prefers a 1.5kg bat.

Dhoni has now finished a successful chase a six on eight occasions. West Indies legend Brian Lara is second with five.


Reproduced from Mail Today. Copyright 2009. MTNPL. All rights reserved.

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

On Now: Chennai Super Kings vs Delhi Daredevils

On Now: Chennai Super Kings vs Delhi Daredevils

IPL7, MATCH 8—Raina-led middle-order lifts Chennai to 177-7. More »

Bowling worries for Super Kings

Bowling worries for Super Kings

After failing to defend a mammoth 205 against Kings XI Punjab, Chennai have a lot to think about. More »

Punjab pull off another big chase

Punjab pull off another big chase

GAME 7, SHARJAH—Maxwell, Miller, Pujara chase down Rajasthan's 192. More »

T20 test for Cheteshwar Pujara

T20 test for Cheteshwar Pujara

The class act from Saurashtra may have to rethink his approach to the mannerless format. More »

BCCI reputation lowest in 80 years: Manohar

BCCI reputation lowest in 80 years: Manohar

The former BCCI president says he was "disillusioned" by the happenings at the emergent working committee meeting on Sunday. More »

Special meeting to replace Srinivasan

Special meeting to replace Srinivasan

The BCCI is likely to convene a special general body meeting (SGM) in May to replace N Srinivasan on the board's disciplinary committee. More »

Shastri in proposed IPL probe panel

Shastri in proposed IPL probe panel

Some members stressed on the need for proposing names with an "impeccable record and clean image". More »

Roach escapes injury after car crash

Roach escapes injury after car crash

The West Indies fast bowler lost control of his BMW sedan due to slippery road conditions in his native Barbados on Saturday. More »

Panel can help clean mess: Raghavan

Panel can help clean mess: Raghavan

The former CBI Director is one of the three candidates proposed by the BCCI to head the enquiry into the IPL betting and spot-fixing scandal. More »

Cook relieved after period in limbo

Cook relieved after period in limbo

The England captain is looking forward to a fresh start after a dispiriting Ashes defeat last year. More »

[INTERVIEW] Jayawardene and Sangakkara

[INTERVIEW] Jayawardene and Sangakkara

Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara go over their World T20 win, and feel grateful to have fans whose support remains unwavering in victory and de… More »

Repose faith in Indian coaches

Repose faith in Indian coaches

All of them cost plenty of dollars which I feel is unnecessary for a two- month tournament, says former cricketer Yajurvindra Singh. More »

Need to improve fielding: Ashwin

Need to improve fielding: Ashwin

[T20 Newsline] Lacklustre Super Kings, fast-improving Sanju Samson and other news from IPL-7. More »

Aussie coach joins emerging Afghanistan

Aussie coach joins emerging Afghanistan

Peter Anderson has started work in Kabul as the fast-developing team prepare for their debut at next year's World Cup. More »

Chaos threatens to engulf SL again

Chaos threatens to engulf SL again

As Lanka's head coach decides to jump ship, euphoria over winning an ICC tournament has dissipated into fuistration. More »

Jayasuriya unhappy at Farbrace conduct

Jayasuriya unhappy at Farbrace conduct

Sri Lanka's chief selector is upset at news of head coach Paul Farbrace's possible move to England. More »

Have nothing to prove to anybody — Sehwag

Have nothing to prove to anybody — Sehwag

The Nawab of Najafgarh says a good run in IPL could help his chances of a comeback on India's tour to England in June. More »

Duminy steals first win for Delhi

Duminy steals first win for Delhi

Furious fifties by Duminy and Dinesh Karthik end a long losing streak for the Daredevils. More »

Five things England must do to bounce back

Five things England must do to bounce back

England have appointed a new head coach in Peter Moores. More »

AB, Parthiv seal Bangalore's second win

AB, Parthiv seal Bangalore's second win

Royal Challengers overcame a stutter to cruise to the small target they were set by Mumbai Indians. More »

‘Felt like helpless minority’

‘Felt like helpless minority’

Former BCCI treasurer Ajay Shirke says emotions got the better of Srinivasan and he tried to oversimplify things by calling Meiyappan an “enthusiast.” More »

Royal test for Kings

Royal test for Kings

Preview — Clash of philosophies between Australia-centric teams More »

No way back for Pietersen: ECB

No way back for Pietersen: ECB

Kevin Pietersen's hopes of reviving his international career appeared to end Saturday when ECB managing director Paul Downton said there was 'no way back'… More »

The world record that nearly wasn't

The world record that nearly wasn't

Twenty years ago this week, Brian Lara became Test cricket's highest scorer, but he almost didn't make it. More »