Former Indian cricket team skipper, MS Dhoni is perhaps one of the greatest Indian cricketers to have graced the field. Dhoni has been one of the most celebrated cricketers in terms of both individual and team achievements.
A winner of all the ICC Trophies as a skipper earlier, Dhoni was an integral part of the Indian cricket team in the white-ball format until the ICC World Cup 2019. Post the event, MSD took a sabbatical and didn’t make a return to the side until the coronavirus pandemic that shook the world.
Dhoni is someone who has always been a team player and that made him a successful leader. He just understands the game so naturally. He helped India win the ICC World Cup 2011 and played a massive role in the finale.
Besides this, he also guided India to the World T20 title in 2007 and the Champions Trophy in 2013. Dhoni’s brilliance in the Indian Premier League shouldn’t be ignored. IPL’s most successful skipper has donned the hat to perfection.
Here we look at instances when MS Dhoni’s unique decisions on the field helped India succeed.
Dhoni’s decision to go with non-regular bowlers
Dhoni’s first tryst with captaincy came to the fore in the inaugural ICC T20 World Cup in the year 2007. Team India managed to seal a tie against arch-rivals Pakistan, which led to a bowl-out. In this Group D encounter, India managed 141/9, before restricting Pakistan to 141/7 in 20 overs. Pakistan, who needed one off the last two balls, saw Misbah-ul-Haq get run-out in the final delivery of the match.
It was Dhoni’s brilliance that helped the side restrict Pakistani with effective bowling changes towards the end, Dhoni then pulled out a rabbit off the hat after going with non-regular bowlers for the bowl-out.
The Men in Blue won the match as Virender Sehwag, Harbhajan Singh and Robin Uthappa ended up hitting the stumps. India won the bowl-out comfortably.
Going with Joginder Sharma in WT20 final
It was once again an Indo-Pak show in the ICC T20 World Cup 2007. And just like the group encounter, this match also got fans biting their nails till the very end. The finale saw came down to the final over in an intense encounter.
India managed 157/5 in 20 overs with Gautam Gambhir scoring a decisive 75-run knock. In reply, Pakistan were cruising along, before India hit back. The Men in Green needed 13 off the last over with one wicket in hand when Dhoni called up little known Joginder Sharma instead of spin legend Harbhajan Singh.
Dhoni’s decision to deploy a rather inexperienced pacer raised some eyebrows, especially with Misbah at the crease. Despite being hit for a six in the second ball, Sharma managed to dismiss Misbah-ul-Haq which made India world champions.
Promoting self in 2011 World Cup final
India’s ICC World Cup 2011 win will always be remembered for Dhoni’s title-clinching six against Sri Lanka at the Wankhede. India lost both Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar in a 275-run chase. Rather than coming in at number six, Dhoni took matter in his own hands and came out to bat at number five. India were 114/3 at that stage.
He joined Gautam Gambhir in the middle and shared a decisive 109-run stand for the fourth wicket. Gambhir managed 97, whereas, Dhoni stood tall with a 91*-run knock. India sealed the final by six wickets with 10 balls remaining.
Asking Ishant to bowl short at Lord’s
In the 2014 tour of England, a 28-year-old wait ended when India registered a Test victory at the historical Lord’s. India scored 295 in the first innings and then had England bowled out for 319. In the second innings, Team India managed a decent 342. Chasing 319, hosts England looked set on 174/4 with Joe Root (66) and Moeen Ali (39) scoring comfortably.
However, just when things were looking difficult for India, skipper Dhoni came up with a plan. He insisted fast bowler Ishant Sharma to start bowling bouncers. The ploy worked and the bowler dismissed the well set duo, before getting three of the next four scalps.
The timely advice resulted in a 95-run victory for India with the latter taking seven wickets. Ishant managed figures of 7/74 and was adjudged the player of the match.
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