Finisher is a role that needs to done with perfection in ODI’s. Finishing the innings is an art that doesn’t come naturally to a batsman. There are many fine finishers who had made a mark in the game. Michael Beven is considered as one of the finest finisher the game has ever produced. Currently Mahendra Singh Dhoni is considered the best in the business. His teammate Yuvraj Singh too has the knack of finishing things in style. India are lucky to have two best finishers in their side. Both have done it numerous times together in the past. They both have put on over 4000 runs together in ODI’s. Here is the list of top 5 Yuvraj Singh MS Dhoni partnerships.
5. 54* vs Sri Lanka, Mumbai, 2011
This unbroken stand of 54 between Yuvraj and Dhoni is listed in the fifth place ahead of some more 100+ stands because of the situation in which they batted together. It was the finals of 2011 world cup and India were chasing 275 to win. To everyone’s horror, they lost the wickets of Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag early in the innings. Gautam Gambhir and Virat Kohli steadied the ship before Virat got out. Skipper Dhoni stepped up to the occasion. He had a rather worse tournament till then and promoted himself ahead of Yuvraj who was in red hot form. Once Gambhir got out for 97, India needed 52 runs to win from 52 balls. Yuvraj came to the crease and stitched together a well timed partnership with MS Dhoni. The pair added 54 runs off just 42 balls and led India to victory in the 2011 world cup finals. Ms Dhoni made a stroke filled 91 and Yuvraj made a crucial 21 to guide their team home.
4. 158 vs Zimbabwe, Harare, 2005
This epic partnership between India’s two greatest finishers came in the midst of a triangular series in Zimbabwe in 2005. After posting a stiff 250 on board, Zimbabwe bowlers strike early and sent the top 5 Indian batsmen with just 91 on the board. At 91 for 5, the Indians were on the verge of facing a huge defeat, before a top-class innings from Yuvraj Singh, and a fine support act by Mahendra Singh Dhoni, settled matters and ensured that India won the match. When the two came together, India needed 159 runs off 154 balls. Yuvraj batted brilliantly and scored a fluent 120 off 124 balls. He was matched shot by shot by his partner MS Dhoni who scored an unbeaten 67 off 63 balls. With just two runs needed for victory, Yuvraj Singh perished India crossed the line with ease courtesy a huge six from MS Dhoni.
3. 102*vs Australia, Rajkot, 2013
In the one off Twenty20 against Australia in Rajkot, Australia set India a target of 202 in just 20 overs which was considered as a Himalayan task. India was set a challenging target and they lost Rohit early. Raina and Dhawan gave them a good start in the powerplay overs until both were dismissed. Kohli threw his wicket away after getting a start. In his second comeback after recovering from cancer, a leaner and fitter Yuvraj Singh was called upon to do a job he has done numerous times for India in ODIs – revive a huge chase, with MS Dhoni for company. As expected, this pair got out India from blushes yet again as Yuvraj and Dhoni partnership of 102 off 51 balls that took India home. The former was the aggressor as he paced his innings superbly and scored his highest T20I score, 77 off 35 balls and he was well aided by his skipper who played second fiddle by scoring a 24 ball 21.
2. 148 vs Australia, Delhi, 2009
After bundling out the Aussies for 229, India lost Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir early. But Sachin Tendulkar set the platform and chipped in with a subdued 47 ball 32. After Sachin Tendulkar got out the scorecard read 53-3. Again Yuvraj and Dhoni came to India’s rescue. Both played percentage cricket to perfection and scored well- paced half- centuries to guide India to a six- wicket win over depleted Australia in third ODI give the hosts a 2- 1 advantage in seven- match series. They put on 148 from 178 balls. Yuvraj Singh scored a valiant 96 ball 78 and Dhoni batted well for his 95 ball 71. When Yuvraj got out, India needed 29 runs off 36 balls. Yuvraj and Dhoni added 148 runs for the fourth wicket. This is a new 4th wicket partnership record at Kotla. The previous best was in the name of Sourav Ganguly and Mohammad Kaif who added 111 runs for the same wicket vs England in 2002.
1. 102* vs Pakistan, Lahore, 2006
This showdown was considered as the mother of all battles. After winning a match each, India and Pakistan faced off each other in the third ODI at Lahore. Put into bat, Pakistan set India a target of 289 in 50 overs. After getting off to a nice start, India were reeling at 190 for 5 at the end of 35 overs. It was when both Yuvraj and Dhoni started to repair the innings. Yuvraj scored a stroke filled 87 ball 79 and MS Dhoni blazed away 72 runs off 46 balls to guide India home with 14 balls to spare. This partnership is considered as one of the best between the two players.
With both these players have atleast five more years in their careers, we can expect more such partnerships and match winnings from these celebrated Indian batsmen.