Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) Stephen Fleming believes MS Dhoni still remains one of the best finishers in the world. Dhoni played a match-winning innings against Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH), wherein he scored 61 not out off 34 balls to finish the game for his side. Dhoni’s knock helped RPS register a win off the final ball of the match. Fleming also mentioned that Dhoni was a bit concerned about his form and wanted to put behind his disappointing run as early as possible. RPS play table toppers Mumbai Indians (MI) in their next game. Incidentally, MIs only loss of the season has come against RPS, which was their first game of the season. MI since then have won six games in a row. Full Cricket Scorecard: Mumbai Indians vs Rising Pune Supergiant IPL 2017, Match 28 at Mumbai
Talking about Dhoni’s innings against SRH, Fleming said, “It was vintage, wasn’t it? It was a performance that was befitting of a man who has the reputation of being a great finisher.” He added, “There has been a discussion around when was the last time he has played an innings like that. You got to remember playing an innings like that we had got a bit blasé about how special they were.”
“Yesterday he proved again that when he is in the mood and has got the sight or the feel for the bowling he is still the most destructive closer because of his composure and hitting skills. And people were questioning his form but certainly from the finishing point of view I will reiterate we got a bit blasé because it was happening so often. We benefitted from it at Chennai (Super Kings) a lot and people were yearning for a performance like that. And like all great players do, he delivered,” Fleming gushed about Dhoni’s knock.
Fleming said Dhoni was determined to set the record straight after a few poor scores in the beginning of the tournament.
“Yes, he was determined. He has been training a lot. He has certainly hit a lot of balls and it was all building up to an innings of substance. He desperately wants us to do well this year. After last year, we all felt that we needed more contributions from everybody. He, in particular, was the one to put his hand up. So he has been wanting to win a game. Smith as well has been wanting to win a game and our big players want to contribute and one of our biggest did that yesterday,” said Fleming.
Fleming also believes that Dhoni is unfazed by criticism. “He has never listened to or been affected by all the off-field talk. In some ways he isolates himself away from that which is a good thing especially in India with the pressure and the amount of talk there is. But still, the calmness he shows in such situations is one of his greatest assets. And yesterday, it was to the fore.”
“We thought that it was probably late and we had not got too much of the total to leave us with a good chase in the end, but he proved it with the hitting and batting skills and the power that players have these days that no score is impossible and that puts so much pressure on the bowlers, and good bowlers too,” he added.