Taking the game deep and reducing the contest to him v the man running in to bowl the last over is how MS Dhoni deals with high-pressure chases. Following this template, Dhoni nearly pulled off another stunning chase, against Royal Challengers Bangalore, in IPL 2019. Here are some other classic, last-over Dhoni finishes.
Kings XI Punjab v Chennai Super Kings, Dharamsala, IPL 2010
Last over target: 16
That game where Dhoni became Chennai's thala. The target was 193. Suresh Raina (46) and S Badrinath (53) had kept Super Kings afloat in the chase. Back-to-back boundaries from Dhoni against Rusty Theron in the penultimate over reduced the margin to 16 off the last over. The semi-final spot was on the line.
After jabbing a near yorker from Irfan Pathan for four and taking a double off the first two balls, Dhoni sat deep in the crease, fetched a full ball from outside off and smoked it over the long-on boundary. He produced an encore next ball, sending it into the crowd beyond long-on, and then - in a rare show of emotion - punched himself in the jaw like a boxer.
Australia v India, Adelaide, Commonwealth Bank Series 2012
Last over target: 13
Nearly a year after playing starring roles in India's World Cup triumph in Mumbai, Gautam Gambhir and Dhoni were at it again, this time in Adelaide. Gambhir set the base with 92 before Dhoni teased Australia till the last over and launched from there. Victory seemed less than likely for India when R Ashwin jumped across off, swung for the hills, and missed the first ball of the last over. He tugged the second ball for a single. With India needing 12 off four balls, Dhoni Dhoni-ed Clint McKay for a 112-metre six over wide long-on. A nervy McKay then lost his length, and his head, and sent down a beamer that was caught at deep square-leg, but Dhoni hared across for a double. He pulled three off the fourth ball - the third legal ball - to seal the chase.
Chennai Super Kings v Sunrisers Hyderabad, Chennai, IPL 2013
Last over target: 15
Block. Block. Block. Block. Play and a miss. Bottom-edge to the keeper. Get dropped next ball. That's how Dhoni's first seven balls played out. He then took Ishant Sharma, Darren Sammy and Dale Steyn for boundaries, but Dwayne Bravo (7 off 16 balls) and Ravindra Jadeja (1 off 4 balls) still left Super Kings needing 15 off the final over. Surprisingly, Sunrisers Hyderabad' captain Cameron White called up medium-pacer Ashish Reddy to bowl the last over of the match, which was also the bowler's first over of the match. The first ball was a wide and the second was a dot, but then Dhoni went 6, 4, 4 to close out the match with two balls to spare.
India v Sri Lanka, Port of Spain, Tri-Nation Series 2013
Last over target: 15
The Queen's Park Oval pitch for the tri-series final between India and Sri Lanka had everything for the bowlers: swing, seam, spin and even uneven bounce. Shaminda Eranga had cut through India's top order, Rangana Herath took care of the middle order, but Dhoni was simply doing his thing: he sat back and hung in for the final-over salvo. He was injured and struggling to run between the wickets, so he had to do it with boundaries. He called for his heavy bat before the last over. Eranga ran in. Dhoni did not connect with the first ball, but you knew it was coming. The next ball was full and wide and Dhoni connected this time, sending it sailing into the media box over the straight boundary. The third and fourth balls were carved away for four and six respectively as Dhoni - hamstring trouble and all - delivered another blockbuster finish.
Delhi Daredevils v Chennai Super Kings, Delhi, IPL 2014
Last over target: 11
In a see-sawing chase of 179, Dwayne Smith and Brendon McCullum did the early running before passing over the baton to Raina. Jaydev Unadkat and Wayne Parnell then dragged Daredevils back into the match, which meant Super Kings still required 11 off the last over. Unadkat missed his yorker first ball and got away with a single that brought Dhoni on strike. Unadkat missed his yorker again and was monstered over long-on. There was only one result from thereon, and Dhoni finished it off with two balls to spare.
Mumbai Indians v Chennai Super Kings, Mumbai, IPL 2014
Last over target: 11
Mumbai were on a ten-match winning streak at home, and it needed a Dhoni special to snap that. Dwayne Smith had fallen after a start-stop half-century, and McCullum and Raina were out to questionable umpiring decisions. Seventeen needed off 12 became 11 needed off six after a double-wicket penultimate over bowled by Lasith Malinga. Kieron Pollard bowled an off-side wide first ball, and then Dhoni took a hard-run two off the second. The third was a slower variation, and Dhoni clouted it over deep midwicket for six. The next ball - short and wide - was scythed through the covers for four. Match over.
Rising Pune Supergiant v Kings XI Punjab, Visakhapatnam, IPL 2016
Last over target: 23
Rising Pune Supergiant needed to win to avoid the wooden spoon. Left-arm spinner Axar Patel had bowled a stifling spell thus far, giving away only 20 runs while claiming the wicket of George Bailey. Then he ran into Dhoni. Dhoni flatly refused a single to Ashwin off the first ball and then a double off the third legal ball of the over. However, Dhoni pulled off another last-over hat-trick of boundaries - 4, 6, 6. The match-winning six was a helicopter launched over deep midwicket.
Royal Challengers Bangalore v Chennai Super Kings, Bengaluru, IPL 2018
Last over target: 16
Ahead of Dhoni's return to Super Kings in 2018, many wondered if he still had it. He had come up short against Kings XI Punjab earlier in the season when Super Kings needed 17 off the last over. Dhoni found his six-hitting groove at M Chinnaswamy Stadium though, nailing seven hits into the stands. He even scythed a hard-to-hit low full-toss from Mohammed Siraj for six - a shot that left Super Kings' coach Stephen Fleming gushing: "That one shot over point towards the end of the innings was one of the top three shots I have ever seen."
With 16 required off the last over, Bravo did his bit by picking off 11 off the first three balls. Then, with Corey Anderson delivering a full ball outside off, Dhoni jumped across and slugged it for his seventh six of the night, over wide long-on, evoking memories of that shot that won India the 2011 World Cup.