There is very little doubt that MS Dhoni is one of India’s best ever limited-overs players.
The destructive right-handed batsman and laconic wicketkeeper has orchestrated some of India’s finest one-day international victories and stands as one of the best players of his generation.
In fact, Dhoni boasts the highest ODI batting average (52.20) for anyone to have played 235 matches or more, and sits second on India’s all-time run-scorers list behind the great Sachin Tendulkar.
Upon the completion of his 300th one-day international, we take a look back at five of his most influential innings.
MS DHONI BY THE NUMBERS
M: 300 | Runs: 9657 | HS: 183* | Avg: 52.50 | 100s: 10 | 50s: 65 | C: 281 | St: 99
1) The legend of Dhoni begins
India v Pakistan
2nd ODI, Visakhapatnam, April 2005
In just his fourth ODI, Dhoni announced himself on the international stage by making a cavalier 148 from just 123 balls against India’s biggest cricketing rivals. His knock included 15 boundaries and four sixes as he helped the hosts reach 9-356 from their 50 overs. Pakistan were gallant in reply but it wasn’t enough as India finished 58-run victors and a star was born.
2) Dhoni’s rise continues
India v Sri Lanka
3rd ODI, Jaipur, October 2005
Kumar Sangakkara carried his bat for Sri Lanka as the visitors batted first, remaining unbeaten on 138 as Sri Lanka posted a formidable 4-298 in the third one-day international. The early loss of Sachin Tendulkar sent a major scare through the rowdy Indian crowd, but all was forgotten when Dhoni was promoted to No.3 and unleashed carnage on the Sri Lankan attack. The right-hander was simply unstoppable on his way to an unbeaten 183 from 145 deliveries, smashing 10 sixes and 15 boundaries as the hosts reached the target with more than 20 balls to spare. At the time, it was the sixth-highest ODI score ever and continued Dhoni’s rapid rise to superstardom.
3) World Cup glory
India v Sri Lanka
World Cup Final, Mumbai, April 2011
In an innings that carried the weight of more than a billion people, Dhoni delivered on the biggest stage of all. India hadn’t won a World Cup for 28 years and the pressure on the host nation was immense in the final in Mumbai. Chasing Sri Lanka’s 275 for victory, India had the worst possible start, losing Virender Sehwag second ball and Tendulkar when the score was just 32. But Gataum Gambhir and Dhoni steadied the ship with a 109-run fourth-wicket partnership and then, in the penultimate over, Dhoni hit the winning runs in style by launching his second six into the stands to remain 91 not out and break India’s World Cup drought.
4) THAT six in Adelaide
Australia v India
2nd ODI, Adelaide, February 2012
Batting first, Australia compiled a defendable 8-269 from their 50 overs, thanks largely to a 98-run partnership from Peter Forrest and David Hussey. In reply, Gambhir made a majestic 92 to have the visitors on track for victory, but a steady bowling performance by the Aussies kept the game in the balance. And it came down to 13 runs required from the final over, with Clint McKay taking on the master Dhoni. The Indian skipper, who hadn’t hit a boundary in creeping to 33 from 55 balls before the final over, dispatched the third delivery onto the famous Adelaide Oval hill, one of the biggest sixes ever hit at the venue, and then secured the win with two balls to spare.
5) The Finisher
India v Sri Lanka
Final, West Indies Tri-Nation Series, Port of Spain, July 2013
Chasing a very achievable 202 for victory, India seemed in total control as they reached 3-139 in the 32nd over. But the dismissal of Rohit Sharma to crafty left-arm spinner Rangana Herath sparked a middle-order collapse that left India reeling at 9-182. Needing 15 from the last over and with just No.11 Ishant Sharma for company, Dhoni was on strike and not all hope was lost. And ‘Captain Cool’ delivered, hitting the second ball of the over for six, the next ball for four and he finished the game in style by hitting the fourth ball for another six, igniting boisterous celebrations in the Indian dressing room.