MS Dhoni: His greatest ODI knocks
From the origin story of his 148 against Pakistan to the history-making 91 that won India the World Cup, here are five of Dhoni's best ODI knocks
M.S. Dhoni drew curtains on his international career through an Instagram post on 15 August. He had already retired from Test cricket in 2014. This brings an end to one of storied careers in Indian cricket, one that saw the kid from Ranchi become India’s most successful captain and one of its great ODI batsmen. He made huge contributions to T20 and Test cricket, but it was arguably in ODIs that he made history on a frequent basis. Here are five of his best knocks in ODI cricket.
148 vs Pakistan, Visakhapatnam, 2005
The origin story didn’t get off to a great start, with Dhoni scoring 0, 12, 7* and 3 in his first four innings as an international cricketer. All that was laid to rest when, promoted to number 3 after Sachin Tendulkar fell early, he set about flaying the Pakistan attack. Shahid Afridi was subjected to the kind of savage hitting the all-rounder was more accustomed to doling out. His 148 came off 123 balls, with 15 fours and 4 sixes. The champ was here.
183* vs Sri Lanka, Jaipur, 2005
In December 2005, India hosted Sri Lanka. In the third ODI, chasing the visitors’ 298, Dhoni came in at number 3, again promoted. It was an even more astonishing display of hitting than the game against Pakistan—despite being troubled by cramps and scoring the last 53 with a runner. Dhoni was unbeaten on 183 off 145 balls (10 sixes, 15 fours) when India won with just under 4 overs to spare. It remains the highest score by a wicket-keeper in ODIs.
91* vs Sri Lanka, Mumbai, 2011
Going into the 2011 World Cup final, Dhoni had just 150 runs from 7 innings in the tournament. Yet, after Virat Kohli was dismissed, he promoted himself ahead of the in-form Yuvraj Singh. His 109-run stand with Gautam Gambhir took India within range of victory. With 52 required off 52, Dhoni and Singh saw India through with 10 deliveries to spare. Dhoni finished it off with a flourish, slamming the most self-aware six ever. His 91 came off just 79 deliveries. Along with Kapil Dev’s 183, it was arguably the single-most crucial innings by an Indian captain in limited overs cricket.
113* vs Pakistan, Chennai, 2012
Over the years, Dhoni tempered his swashbuckling instincts with an ability to graft and see out difficult situations. One of his great innings under pressure was against Pakistan in 2012 at Chennai. India’s top four were are all out bowled, and Rohit Sharma was caught at slip. India were 29 for 5 in the 10th over, staring down the barrel of an embarrassing defeat. But Dhoni, in partnership with Suresh Raina and Ravichandran Ashwin, took India to a fighting total of 227. His unbeaten 113—made despite bad cramps at the end—couldn’t prevent a Pakistan win, but it was perhaps his grittiest innings.
44* vs Australia, Adelaide, 2012
India were 178 for 4 chasing 270 when Dhoni walked out in the 35th over. As he so often did in his later years, he brought the game down to the wire, him versus the bowler. 13 was needed off the last over, then 12 off 4. Dhoni then launched Clint McKay’s half volley for a gargantuan, 112m six. McKay, rattled, bowled a no ball—and watched in agony as Dhoni was caught at deep square leg. He pulled the next ball and got India home.