Author : Tushar Agarwal
Dhoni was the captain of the Indian team that won the inaugural T20 world cup in the year 2007. He is also the most successful captain among all IPL playing teams, leading the Chennai Super Kings to victory in three tournaments, twice in the IPL (2009 and 2011) and once in the Champions League (2010). Captaincy comes naturally to this man, as does striking huge sixes and taking stunning catches behind the stumps.
He offers so much to a team in so many departments. He can keep wickets, can bat at no. 5 or 6 to give the late impetus to the innings which is almost always required, and captains his side, being the most successful captain in the world at that.
He has played in 159 Twenty 20 games till date and has a batting average of 35.7 and a strike rate of over a 135. He has also affected 117 dismissals as wicket-keeper.
Here is a compilation of his best T20 performances, and it does not need telling that he is able to tilt the game in his team’s favour whenever he plays well.
5. 45 (33) vs South Africa (ICC World T20, Durban, 2007)
This was a significant performance considering that it was the first ever T20 World Cup and India had had a bad start in the match batting first, losing 4 wickets in the first 10 overs with only close to 60 runs on the board.
Dhoni, along with Rohit Sharma, starred in an 85-run partnership to ensure that India reached a defendable total of 153, which they did defend, knocking South Africa out of the tournament and securing a place in the semi-finals.
Dhoni played a useful hand, not going for boundaries initially but rather focussing on settling down and building his innings. He hit 4 fours and a six. Dhoni and Sharma added 85 in 61 deliveries after the initial slump of the batting order.
The bowlers were able to restrict South Africa to 109 thanks to some brilliant bowling by RP Singh who picked up a 4-wicket haul.
4. 54* (29) vs KXIP (IPL, Dharamsala, 2010)
This knock ensured victory for Chennai in the final stages of the game and a spot in the semi-finals of the tournament, which they went on to win eventually.
The Kings XI had set a stiff target of 193, thanks to Shaun Marsh’s quickfire 88 off 57 balls. Chennai didn’t get off to the greatest of starts, with both openers back in the hut with just 4 overs bowled and 27 runs scored. But Raina did not lose his head and along with Badrinath, added 62 for the 3rd wicket, taking just 34 balls to do so.
When Raina got out, the Super Kings still required a 100-odd runs in the 10 overs to follow, and it was the perfect time for Dhoni to prove his mettle once again.
And sure enough, he rose to the occasion, seeing his team through with 2 balls remaining. A total of 28 were required in the last 2 overs that remained, and Dhoni and Morkel were present at the crease.
Dhoni faced Rusty Theron in the 19th over and managed to get two boundaries, one over long-off and another over mid-wicket, leaving 16 to be got of the last over.
Irfan Pathan came in to bowl the over to try his variations to stop Dhoni. But Dhoni was in no mood to give in, he hammered a couple of boundaries in the first three deliveries, leaving just 4 needed of the last 3.
He finished the innings in style on the very next delivery, heaving a huge blow over the long-on boundary, and was duly named the Man of the Match.
3. 65 (30) vs RCB (IPL, Bangalore, 2008)
This time Chennai got off to a decent start, scoring 65/2 at the end of 10 and 102/3 at the end of 15 overs. But there was no real venom in their batting until Dhoni decided to take the bowling attack head-on along with Hussey, who scored 47 (37).
The pair added 76 runs in the remaining 5 overs, to convert a modest looking score to a daunting 178, demanding the Royal Challengers to score almost 9 an over to win the match, which they couldn’t manage, falling short by 13 runs.
Dhoni got a majority of his runs on the on-side. He smashed Steyn for 31 in the 12 balls that he faced from him. He even hit 3 giant sixes in his innings, and reached his 50 in just 24 balls.
Later in the game, Dhoni caught Jacque Kallis behind the wicket and was also part of 2 run-outs. He was adjudged Player of the Match.
2. 67* (37) vs SRH (IPL, Chennai, 2013)
Chennai needed 8 runs an over to overcome the target that Sunrisers had set them. Dhoni came to their rescue and scored an unbeaten 67 to see them over the line.
He was dropped by Amit Mishra when he hadn’t even scored a single run. He made sure that he made full use of this opportunity and got the 15 runs needed of the last over of the innings bowled by Ashish Reddy, where he finally sealed victory for his team after a long, fighting knock.
He got 55 of his 67 on the on-side, which included 4 sixes over the long-on and mid-wicket region. He even gave Dale Steyn a real hammering, scoring 29 off the 11 deliveries that he faced.
Chennai were hampered in their chase, when the 15th over turned out to be a maiden with 46 runs needed off the next 4. But Dhoni kept his cool and did the needful in the remaining overs.
Chennai won by 5 wickets with 2 balls to spare and captain Dhoni was Player of the Match yet again for his match-winning performance.
1. 63* (19) vs SRH (CLT20, Ranchi, 2013)
It is evident that Dhoni has a certain liking for the Sunrisers bowling attack. This was the most brutal knock of all that we have seen him play, which saw him go berserk with his shots and get 63 not out with a strike rate of over 300.
He got the fastest 50 of the tournament, coming off just 16 balls. He slaughtered Thisara Perera in the 18th over of the match, hitting 5 sixes in all possible directions (over fine-leg, deep point, third man and long-on) off his bowling, and in the next over, launched his bat into 2 biggies over long-off and cover as well, taking 15 off the 4 balls that he played against Sammy who bowled that over.
Earlier, the CSK were propelled by Man of the Match Suresh Raina’s knock of 84 off 57 balls. He, along with Dhoni, added 60 runs for the fourth wicket in just 25 balls, which really got the innings going and helped them attain the gigantic total of 202.
The Sunrisers did put up a fight, but it was all in vain and all they could manage was a 190 runs, which was 12 runs too short. Perera may well be called one of the culprits of the match for the Sunrisers, whose figures at the end of the game read 0/60 in 3 overs.
Dhoni even took 2 catches behind the stumps to send Shikhar Dhawan and Darren Sammy back to the pavilion. Sunrisers will definitely have to chalk out a plan to tackle Dhoni if they want to win subsequent games against the Chennai Super Kings.