Exactly 10 days ago, MS Dhoni had a similar task at hand. Chennai Super Kings needed 17 off the final over against Kings XI Punjab, but Dhoni failed to finish the game. He was unbeaten on 79 that evening, but walked off unhappy – unable to seal the win in Mohali.
On Wednesday night, there was no way Dhoni was allowing another chase to get out of hand. Especially after bringing the equation down to 16 off the final over. With Dwayne Bravo at the other end – the same as that night in Mohali – Dhoni finished the game off in the manner he loves, shoveling a full ball over wide long-on for six and sealing a win against Royal Challengers Bangalore.
It was a brutal knock; Dhoni struck seven sixes compared to only one four and it was the manner in which he led CSK’s chase at the Chinnaswamy Stadium that caught people’s attention.
Complete coverage: IPL 2018
Unlike his knock in Mohali, Dhoni didn’t start slow this time. He walked in at the start of the 10th over, and sent his second delivery over deep midwicket for six. That set the tone of his innings, and he saw off the difficult overs from Yuzvendra Chahal before launching into Pawan Negi and Corey Anderson.
For the longest time, it seemed like Ambati Rayudu would attract the evening’s most attention. The two men added 101 for the fifth wicket, but Rayudu was run-out when they needed 31 from 13 balls.
But Dhoni stayed calm, and trusted in the ability of the incoming Bravo to get them close to the win. Once Bravo started the last over with a four and a six, and they needed needed five off three balls, Dhoni shuffled across to the off side to hammer the ball over the leg side and take CSK back to the top of the table. Dhoni finished unbeaten on a 34-ball 70 and collected the Man-of-the-Match award.
The wow moment
With 99 needed off 42 balls, CSK could have succumbed to the pressure created by Chahal and Umesh Yadav. Captain Virat Kohli then brought back Negi, and that changed the momentum of the game.
Negi’s first ball, a full delivery on off stump was met by Dhoni skipping down the ground and drilling it straight over the sightscreen. It struck the glass of the press box, and the very next ball was deposited over long-on. Dhoni had crunched 12 off two balls, and while 19 eventually came off that over, it was his two sixes that set the tone for CSK’s push towards the 206 target.
- MS Dhoni has got two fifties in an IPL season for the first time since 2013
- During his innings, Dhoni became the first T20 batsman to score 5000 runs as captain
- Dhoni’s seven sixes was the most he has ever hit in a single IPL innings
What they said
“What’s important in a chase is to know which bowler has how many [overs] left and who the captain will bowl when.”
MS Dhoni with some masterclass at the post-match presentation on how to best pace a big chase.