Chasing a mammoth 205 runs to win against the Royal Challengers Bangalore, Chennai Super Kings were down in the wood at 74/4 when in IPL MS Dhoni walked in to join a battling Ambati Rayudu at the other end. RCB skipper Virat Kohli could certainly be been forgiven for thinking he had the game in his pocket as Umesh Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal were bowling wicket-taking deliveries with ease and had the CSK batsmen tied up in knots during that period of play.
Dhoni, though, had other ideas. Unlike in the past where he takes his time to settle down and knocks a few balls around to get his eye in, MS Dhoni IPL 2018 is a reformed batsman who is rolling back the years and going after the opposition bowlers right from the very beginning. He did exactly that during his epic knock of 70 runs which came off just 34 deliveries and effectively won the game for CSK from a seemingly hopeless situation. His stay at the crease included as many as seven towering sixes, one of which was reserved to finish the game off in trademark Dhoni style.
Over the years, IPL MS Dhoni has played many a memorable knocks for his beloved Chennai Super Kings and going back to wearing his favourite yellow jersey seems to have brought the best out of the superstar keeper-batsman.
Here, we list down MS Dhoni’s Top 5 knocks for Chennai Super Kings – CSK:
1. 54* off 29 balls vs KXIP, IPL 2010
The image of Mahendra Singh Dhoni punching his jaw after crunching two sixes off Irfan Pathan to take Chennai Super Kings to the IPL 2010 semi-finals will go down as one of the defining moments of the league. Chennai had a topsy-turvy season that year and needed to win their last league match against Kings XI Punjab at Dharamsala to qualify for the last four.
Chasing a formidable 193 for victory, it was Dhoni’s fabulous late innings burst which helped them overhaul the target with two balls to spare. The Chennai captain was calculative in his approach and kept hitting boundaries regularly. Dhoni’s unbeaten 54 off 29 balls included 5 boundaries and two towering sixes.
Dhoni has played several counter-attacking innings in his life, but this one shall always be cherished as one of the most exhilarating.
2. 63* off 19 balls vs SRH, CL 2013
The now defunct Champions League T20 tournament is widely considered a failed experiment on BCCI’s part which has now vanished from public memory for good. But the tournament did produce some memorable individual performances while it was in play. One such knock was MS Dhoni’s blinder against the Sunrisers Hyderabad where the CSK skipper smashed 63 runs in just 19 deliveries with a strike rate of over 300.
Dhoni came to bat at number five even as only six overs remained in the Chennai’s innings and unlike his usual self, he started attacking right from the outset and took the game away from his opponents. It was the 18th over when he went berserk and smashed Thisara Perera for five sixes in an over. He brought up his half-century in just 16 deliveries. In the end, it was his knock, including eight monster sixes, which proved to be difference between the two teams as CSK won the match by just 12 runs.
3. 51* off 20 balls vs MI, IPL 2012
Yet another crunch game, yet another Dhoni special. 2011 IPL champions Chennai Super Kings went head to head with Mumbai Indians in an Eliminator contest in IPL 2012 as they were looking to become the first team to win three titles in a row. Batting first, CSK got off to the worst possible start as they lost their first two wickets in the second over with a solitary run on the board.
Eventually, the ship was steadied by veterans S. Badrinath and Michael Hussey as the duo stitched together a partnership of 94 runs to bring in some much needed stability in Chennai’s innings. However, it wasn’t until IPL MS Dhoni came in to bat that his team truly took command of the game. Walking in to bat in the 14th over, Dhoni smashed 51 runs off 20 balls with six fours and two sixes at a strike-rate of 255. With their skipper leading the charge, CSK amassed 92 runs in the remaining 6.4 overs to reach 187/5 in 20 overs. Eventually, CSK won the match by 38 runs.
4. 70* off 34 balls vs RCB, IPL 2018
Among all the above-mentioned knocks, this is one innings which is likely to be particularly special to Dhoni as the CSK skipper had been labelled as a spent force who was well past his prime coming into the tournament. The 37-year-old legendary stumper has well and truly made his critics eat a humble pie as he has showed signs of vintage MS Dhoni in IPL 2018 and was in full flow in his team’s last outing against Virat Kohli‘s Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Chasing a mammoth total of 205 runs against a RCB attack including the likes of Umesh Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal, CSK were looking down the barrel as they succumbed to 74/4 at one stage. From there on, a 200-plus total was always going to be a tall order, but in an international career spanning well over a decade there are few scenarios which have flustered the great MS Dhoni. Together with Ambati Rayudu (82), Dhoni reaffirmed his reputation as one of the best finishers of the modern era, helping chase down the target with an unbeaten 70 off just 34 deliveries to guide the visitors to victory with two balls remaining, including seven towering sixes. He finished it in trademark style too as he stepped to the offside to smash a hapless Corey Anderson over long-on to bring up the winning runs and complete a brilliant win for the Chennai Super Kings.
— Chennai Super Kings (@ChennaiIPL) April 25, 2018
5. 65 off 30 balls vs RCB, IPL 2008
It can be said that Dhoni’s love affair with RCB started in the inaugural edition of the tournament back in 2008 as the CSK captain played a memorable knock in the first ever encounter between the two fierce rivals. As is always the case, the Chinnaswamy wicket was a batting paradise and plenty of fireworks were expected during the match. IPL MS Dhoni produced fireworks and much more.
Dhoni came in to bat when Chennai had accumulated a decent tally of 82 runs at the loss of 3 wickets in 12.3 overs and took control from that point on. It was the perfect time for an onslaught and their captain was the ideal player to do the job. He duly scored his maiden IPL fifty from just 24 balls. Dhoni smashed Dale Steyn for 24 runs in the 19th over. Zaheer was taken apart for two fours and a six in last over of the innings. Eventually, CSK won by 13 runs and Dhoni was duly awarded the ‘Man of the Match’ award for his game-changing knock.
WATCH: MS Dhoni smashes 54 off 29 deliveries against Kings XI Punjab in IPL 2010