Dhoni is one of the best cricketers in the world.
MS Dhoni has enjoyed a stunning career at the highest level with the India cricket team, as a wicket-keeper and batsman who truly lives up to both sides of the description. While it has always been a delight to watch Dhoni behind the stumps, seeing him take his guard in front is usually a sign that something dramatic is about to happen.
Dhoni’s aggressive and creative approach to batting has made him particularly well-suited to shorter formats of the game, with the man who became Indian captain delivering several memorable ODI performances for his country. Here’s a look at three ODI innings that will live long in the memory once Dhoni hangs up his bat.
1) 91 runs, India vs Sri Lanka, World Cup Final, Mumbai, April 2011
We take it for granted now that India will be one of the favorites for any cricketing event, if not the clear favorite. That’s been the case for much of the 2010s, and it looks like that will be the case for the 2020s too. You can find the latest odds for the 2023 Cricket World Cup here, with India tipped to triumph at + 250 in a tournament that will take place on home soil. The 2023 World Cup will inevitably invite parallels with the 2011 tournament, which India partially hosted.
The 2011 World Cup triumph was the nation’s first since 1983 and transformed India into the dominant team of the decade, so it was fitting that Dhoni delivered the crucial performance in the final against Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka’s total of 274 looked ominous, but Dhoni’s partnership of 109 with Gautam Gambhir helped India complete what was the highest successful run-chase in a World Cup Final. It took Dhoni 79 balls to deliver his 91 runs, with the captain hitting a six to seal victory in typical swashbuckling fashion.
2) 183 runs, India vs Sri Lanka, 3rd ODI, Jaipur, October 2005
It’s easy to measure Dhoni’s achievements by looking at the remarkable statistics that he has produced throughout his career. In terms of pure numbers, this 183 runs should be his greatest knock ever, but his match-winning innings of 91 runs in 2011 were elevated by the context of a World Cup Final. Still, 183 runs are still respectable. At the time, Dhoni’s total became the seventh-highest individual score in ODI cricket.
Dhoni’s performance made a mockery of the 298 posted by Sri Lanka in the first innings. Tendulkar’s early dismissal might have caused Indian fans to worry, but Dhoni came in at 3 to alleviate any concerns. With 10 sixes and 15 fours, Dhoni stormed to an unbeaten 183 from just 145 deliveries as India successfully chased the total.
3) 148 runs, India vs Pakistan, 2nd ODI, Visakhapatnam, April 2005
Any doubt about Dhoni’s potential was smashed out of the ground once he hit 148 against Pakistan in 2005, a knock that brought him to the center stage of international cricket for the first time. It was only Dhoni’s fourth ODI international, but he played with the assurance and the skill of someone in their prime.
Any match-winning performance against Pakistan is sure to win a place in the hearts of Indian cricket fans, Dhoni won the affection of many as he powered his way to 148 from 123 deliveries. Although Dhoni is perhaps more renowned as a finisher who can thrive under pressure, this 148 came as India set an unbeatable 357 for Pakistan to chase. Not a bad statement from an ODI newbie!
Whether or not Dhoni has played his last ODI match for India, his career has brought fans across the world so many incredible memories. From his short but decisive cameos to his carefully-constructed innings, Dhoni will go down as one of India’s cricketing greats.