May 23, 2012

Chennai Super Kings

Dhoni delivers, again

Nikita Bastian
MS Dhoni bludgeons one of the biggest sixes of the tournament, Chennai Super Kings v Pune Warriors, IPL, Chennai, April 19, 2012
Want calm under duress? MS Dhoni's your man  © AFP
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In a tricky situation with the bat? Is it a do-or-die limited-overs match? Just call MS Dhoni. His cool, commanding innings for India in the World Cup final last year is one most Indian fans need no reminding about. He's done the same for his IPL team, Chennai Super Kings, quite a few times too: remember that must-win final league match for Super Kings against Kings XI Punjab in Dharamsala in 2010? Forty-four off 18 needed, Dhoni steps it up, Super Kings win with two balls to spare - that was the difference between not making the semi-finals and winning the title. In the low-scoring 2010 Champions League final, it was Dhoni who took Super Kings across the line, smacking two fours and a six in the 19th over on a slowish pitch, after Super Kings had lost two wickets in quick succession and needed 13 off 12.

Fast-forward two years, and Super Kings are in the IPL eliminator against Mumbai Indians. They've had a poor start (4 for 2 after three overs, to be exact). Ninety-four solid runs later, they've made a recovery, but are far from safe on the batsman-friendly Bangalore pitch. In walks Dhoni. During the season, he has already sealed a last-ball win for his team by knocking two off Rajasthan Royals' Stuart Binny at Chepauk, and then delivered in their crucial chase against Kolkata Knight Riders, taking 17 off Marchant de Lange in the penultimate over to put Super Kings on course.

And right on cue, he produces the innings his team needs. Playing in the destructive mode that typified the early part of his career, he deposits the largest six of the tournament, out of the Chinnaswamy Stadium and follows up with a signature helicopter shot off Lasith Malinga on his way to 51 off 20. End result: record for the IPL's fastest fifty almost broken, the format's premier fast bowler dispatched for over 10 an over, and Super Kings on top and halfway to a place in Friday's qualifier.

Come Friday, should Super Kings find themselves in a spot of bother again, they'll still be quietly confident in knowledge that their captain thrives on pressure.

Nikita Bastian is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by vishnu on (May 26, 2012, 5:02 GMT)

I think Dhoni's 113m six was the best six ever

Posted by siva on (May 25, 2012, 13:11 GMT)

In our board meetings, we get excited so fast. So, I wonder how Dhoni can keep his coolness when required. I am a great fan of him and I rate him better than Tendulkar in this sense.

Posted by sri1ram on (May 25, 2012, 12:11 GMT)

It is really funny to me to see at least 30% of comments mentioning MSD and luck together. Luck may well be there, but people do not realize all the preparation in the background that Dhoni involves himself silently. As @Raghav mentioned, MSD was batting for more than two hours in the track after his team members finished. Coupled with this dedication is a quiet self-confidence, uncluttered mind and matter-of-fact playing to strengths that makes him rise to the occasion time and again. There are a lot of simple yet powerful life-lessons to all of us from Dhoni and his approach to his game of choice.

Posted by sunil on (May 25, 2012, 7:12 GMT)

it was really the same old Dhoni about 3 years back...who attacked fearlessly.. this is the natural game for him..and he should be this way leaving other specialist batsmen to defend or consolidate. he is most effective in this avatar.. hats of to you Dhoni.. you command respect from team mates, opposition and fans being this way..

Posted by Cricketcrazychennaite on (May 25, 2012, 6:46 GMT)

The fact that he mentioned Badri and Hussey and giving credit to their performance during the presentation ceremony is commendable! Now that's a Gentleman you rarely see.

Posted by Pranav Shivram on (May 25, 2012, 6:36 GMT)

I love MSD. My favourite player of all time. Truly spectacular innings by him against Mumbai Indians. The best is always reserved for the end. CSK-MSD=00

Posted by Kirti vardhan on (May 24, 2012, 17:04 GMT)

People still attributing Dhoni's successes to "Luck" ...wake up and smell the coffee. Dhoni is simply "the man"

Posted by Nadeem Sharifuddin on (May 24, 2012, 16:45 GMT)

I think there were two sixes which stands out during this IPL. Dhoni yesterday's six to malinga's yorker over mid on. What a powerful wrist shot. AD Devilier's six over cover to Styen's yorker.

Dhoni once again showed yesterday why he is indian captain and best short format batsman in the world.

Man has too much power and stamina. He is really match winner. Great job Mahi.

Posted by linas on (May 24, 2012, 16:18 GMT)

what to say, one thing makes me more happy is india's winning, i feel the same when comes to csk lucky enough we have got MSD as our captain, chennai super kingsuku whistle podu......

Posted by J.SRINIVASAN on (May 24, 2012, 16:16 GMT)

People who criticize MSD , can learn from him the art of being cool when there is a crunch situations in their life. They should know it is easy to criticize , but keeping the nerve , brain , body together and deliver the best is really an art which all will not have or get by practice. Hats of to MSD.

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