Mumbai Indians v Rising Pune Supergiant, IPL 2017, Qualifier 1 May 16, 2017

How Dhoni spooked Mumbai Indians

For nearly 15 overs of the Rising Pune Supergiant innings, the run-rate was going nowhere. Then Dhoni changed everything in the space of 12 balls
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Tait: Dhoni proves he's the best at finishing

Star turn

Mumbai is a terrifying place to bat first - the boundaries are cruelly small and the prospect of dew later in the night is almost haunting. So imagine being in Rising Pune Supergiant's dugout. They went slower than a-run-a-ball in the Powerplay and the run-rate had just about nudged past six when the final five overs began.

But there was a man in the middle who normally doesn't let his shoulders drop when picturing the worst case scenario. He winds them up instead and just goes bang. MS Dhoni was on 14 of 17 before the final 12 balls of the innings. He finished 40 not out off 26.

The acceleration didn't seem like it would ever come, because Mumbai Indians' bowlers had a splendid plan. The spinners bowled flat and quick to cramp Dhoni. The quicks hit the deck hard and denied him any swinging room. But the thing with gun players is that one shot, one properly timed monster of a shot, can spook the opposition.

It came in the 18th over when Dhoni, camped deep in his crease, cleared his front leg and launched Mitchell McClenaghan for a six over midwicket. The next two deliveries - meant to be slow, short and outside the reach of the batsman - became wides. So McClenaghan corrected his line and found Dhoni waiting for it. The ball disappeared over long-on. The finisher was in.

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Wow moment

A flat, hard club for six in the 20th over. It was one of the few chances Dhoni had to free his arms and he did so with every bit of his considerable might. As eye-catching as the stroke itself was, it was also the first time he had hit Jasprit Bumrah over the boundary rope in the IPL. And that count would rise further before the night was done.

Stats that matter

  • Rising Pune made 41 runs in the last two overs against Mumbai Indians. Dhoni's contribution was 26, with four sixes

  • Dhoni has hit 191 of his 280 runs in the IPL against pace bowling at a strike-rate of 146. Against Mumbai, he struck them at 182.

What they said

"Big game, big players stepped up. I thought MS was magnificent in the end."
Rising Pune Supergiant captain Steven Smith

Alagappan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • forExcelienceInCricket on May 17, 2017, 17:51 GMT

    MSD's excellent contribution in RPS's win over MI in Q1 for some is a case of "Oh No Not Again" but they have to be prepared for more at least till CWC2019.

    It is natural to have some (in IND & fans of teams) who grudge MSD's success & IND's general dominance in world cricket from Sep 2007. IND won 3 world Titles (with a bit of luck could have been 6) & attained No.1 ranking in tests. His match situation awareness has been exceptional.

    For cricket fans MSD is a great inspiration, the greatest ODI all-rounder, great innovative wicketkeeper & greatest captain in all forms of world cricket in history of the game. It is case of a one of the greatest ever ambassadors of cricket demonstrating his focus, commitment, perseverance, hard work, resilience & discipline to continue his journey in sport.

    His performances have been marked by far too many good knocks in wins, draws, losses & too may surprise team successes with better teams AUS/SA/ENG as competitors & with stunning regularity.

  • cricfan5397286377 on May 17, 2017, 12:25 GMT

    whats wrong with people..everyone are expecting him t perform from ball one..even if he waste balls in initial phase he has tremendous ability t hit any type of ball at the death overs..

  • ramli on May 17, 2017, 12:21 GMT

    @EDWIND ... if MSD has joined the fun from first ball and perished?? I know that you will not hesitate to rate MSD as irresponsible!! Results matter brother (or sister?) MSD is a big match player ... he did it before ... he will continue to do it

  • EdwinD on May 17, 2017, 12:02 GMT

    "RAVI424 - not sure how much knowledge you have about the game, but let me explain.

    RPS were 9-2 off 2 overs, therefore Rahane and Tiwary had to rebuild, which they did very effectively, taking the score to 89 when Rahane was out (12.4). At this point there was 44 balls left in the innings, with 7 wkts left. Dhoni took 17 (of those 44 balls) to play himself in, which is way too long imo, he should only have used around 7 or 8 balls. You can see his selfishness in the penultimate ball where he refused a single, despite Tiwary being set, and more than capable of hitting a boundary.

    Clear enough?

    NB I'm not for or against Dhoni, I'd make the same comment for any player.

  • ravi424 on May 17, 2017, 11:21 GMT

    @EDWIND

    Please explain the time Rahane and Tiwari took. On a slow pitch, towards the end it was extremely hard to hit as proven in MI innings. Stop posting biased comments without having knowledge about the game

  • InsideHedge on May 17, 2017, 10:53 GMT

    @Jose...P: Keep those rhymes coming, Sir. Always a treat to see a reply to any of my comments.

  • EdwinD on May 17, 2017, 10:22 GMT

    'MS Dhoni was on 14 of 17 before the final 12 balls of the innings'

    Therefore he took 17 balls to play himself in, which is way too long in the 20/20 format....considering there were wickets in hand he should have accelerated after 6 or 7 balls, not 17....in the last 5 overs there are easy singles and twos to be found.

  • sathishhegde on May 17, 2017, 10:16 GMT

    too much hipe... same way many players did... !!

  • ravi424 on May 17, 2017, 10:04 GMT

    @LESLEY95 and other dhoni haters If you had any knowledge about cricket you would understand stepping up in a big game under pressure, playing against the best bowling attack of IPL, in their home ground with 30,000 fans supporting them, on a slow pitch is a big deal. If not for dhoni RPS had no chance. He has done this for years. Please think before you comment on here..

  • Gokul Nath on May 17, 2017, 9:37 GMT

    @LESLEY95: There is no point in imagining what could have happened...If u follow that line of imagination...what would have happened had Simmons not been run out? Wat if Rohit could have got the right call on his lbw appeal? Dhoni was batting at 6 & 5 throughout the tournament...there is no point in averages at that position. It is all Bang Bang!! Nd no one can do that consistently enough as was evident from Pollard and Hardik yesterday!! That MSD set his standards so high that people like u expect it every day is what makes him one of the best finishers in the world. Give credit where its due!! Without that innings, MI could have easily won the game. Comparing Dan to Dhoni is absolutely absurd. The bottom line is MI bowled well for 18 overs!!! Mitch lost it with the noball!! Bumrah missed his marker in the last, does not happen always!! Sunder bowled beautifully, though lucky with the Rohit dismissal!! Smith was proactive as captain. Manoj nd Rahane too were brilliant!!! MS-exquisite!

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