MS Dhoni recently completed a decade in international cricket. Ten years ago, he made his international debut for India in an ODI against Bangladesh at Chittagong. And since then, he’s been playing relentlessly, shattering records, creating history and helping India achieve milestones. In praising Dhoni the captain, we often forget his batting heroics. Here are the top five innings that Dhoni has played in international cricket.
183 not out vs Sri Lanka, 3rd ODI in Jaipur, December 12, 2005
This was one of the best innings in an ODI and proved to be the turning point in Dhoni’s career. Sri Lanka had posted a competitive total of 298 thanks to Kumar Sangakkara’s 138 and Mahela Jayawardene’s 71. Chasing the target, India lost Sachin Tendulkar in the first over but the team management promoted Dhoni to no.3 and he turned the match around with a whirlwind 183 off 145 balls. He bludgeoned 15 fours and 10 sixes to the delight of the Sawai Mansingh Stadium crowd and powered India home with 23 balls to spare. In doing so, he surpassed Adam Glichrist’s 172 to record the highest score by a wicketkeeper in ODIs. It was also the highest score made by a batsmen in the second innings which was then bettered by Shane Watson of Australia who hit 185* off 96 balls against Bangladesh in Dhaka in 2011.
76 not out vs England, 1st Test, Lord’s, in July 2007
Over the years, Dhoni was tagged as being an aggressive and flamboyant batsman. But in the second innings at Lord’s he showed another side to his batting – grit and patience. It was the first match of the series and India were on the back foot for most of the match. England scored 298 in the first innings and India replied with 201. The hosts then set India a target of 380. In reply, India lost Wasim Jaffer and Rahul Dravid early and ended day four at 137/3 but on day five, they lost Sourav Ganguly and Dinesh Karthik early. Dhoni walked in at 145/5 and added 86 crucial runs with VVS Laxman. Laxman departed at a crucial juncture. India then kept on losing wickets at the other end and were reduced to 263/9. Dhoni held fort at one end and faced 159 balls during his 203-minute stay at the crease before the rain gods intervened and made sure the Test ended in a draw. Over the years, he had played some fantastic match-winning innings but this time the stoic 76-run innings was a match saving one. India went on to win the three-match series 1-0, their third series win on England soil.
91 not out vs Sri Lanka, in 2011 World Cup final
This was one of the most crucial innings of Dhoni’s career. It was the biggest stage of all – the World Cup final – Sri Lanka had put up a competitive 274 thanks to Jayawardene’s sublime ton (103) after winning the toss and batting first at the Wankhede Stadium. In reply, India were reeling at 31/2, having lost Virender Sehwag and Tendulkar inside seven overs. Virat Kohli and Gautam Gambhir then steadied the ship with a 83-run stand but Kohli departed at a crucial juncture with 161 more needed to win. In walked Dhoni, and played a clever innings of 91 off 79 balls. The most impressive feature of this inning was the way he handled Sri Lanka’s most lethal bowler- Muttiah Muralitharan. Gambhir too played a crucial knock of 97 but Dhoni made sure he finished the match off as he hit Nuwan Kulasekara over long on for a six – an iconic moment which fans will never forget. He hit eight fours and two sixes in his innings of 91* off 79 balls. He was named the Man of the Match as he helped India lift the coveted trophy after 28 years.
99 vs England, 4th Test Nagpur, in December 2012
After winning the first Test of the series, England hit back hard to win the next two. The hosts went into the fourth Test needing a win to save the series. England posted 330 thanks to half-centuries from Kevin Pietersen, Joe Root and Matt Prior. But the pitch started deteriorating from day two. It was slow and low. India were already struggling in the series and they were reduced to 71/4. Dhoni arrived at the crease and played sensibly to rebuild the innings along with Kohli (103) as the pair added 198 runs for the fifth wicket. After battling out for 398 minutes and 246 balls, Dhoni was unfortunately run out for 99 trying to go for a risky single at mid off. On a wicket which Pietersen later described as the ‘toughest ever pitch’ he’s played on, Dhoni’s 99 and Kohli’s 103 were match-saving. The test ended in a dull draw as both the teams then took a cautious approach.
224 v Australia 1st Test at Chennai, in February 2013
Not often does India lose a Test series at home but they lost against England in 2012-13 and then they hosted the mighty Australians on the home soil. It was a test of character for the Indian team and especially Dhoni. He led from the front and set the tone for the series with a brilliant 224 in the first innings. Australia had posted 380 thanks to captain Michael Clarke’s 130 after opting to bat. India posted a mammoth 572 thanks to Dhoni’s double ton and Kohli’s century. On his way to 224, Dhoni shattered record after record as he became the first Indian wicketkeeper to score a double century in Tests. He also registered the highest individual score by an Indian captain in Tests. India won the match by eight wickets and Dhoni was named the Man of the Match. The tone was set and India went on to whitewash Australia 4-0.
12 Facts That Best Describe His Genius : DHONI’S INCREDIBLE DECADE
Ten years ago, MS Dhoni made his international debut for India in an ODI against Bangladesh at Chittagong. He didn’t have the best of starts as he was run out for a first ball duck but then he got into the groove and shattered records. Here are some unbelievable records and numbers associated with MS Dhoni…
- The unique distinction of leading India to most wins across all three formats – Tests, ODIs and Twenty20 Internationals – is held by Dhoni. He is the only captain to do so in all the three formats. He also has the highest win percentage as an Indian captain in Tests and ODIs. (Tests – 27 wins, ODIs – 93 wins, T20Is – 26 wins) (Win % – 56.02 % in ODIs, 45.76% in Tests)
- Dhoni is the only captain to lead India in more than 50 Tests (59). The next on the list sn Sourav Ganguly with 49.
- Dhoni is the most successful captain in the T20Is across countries. He has won the most number of matches as a captain – 26. The next in the list is William Porterfield of Ireland with 20 wins.
- Dhoni currently possesses the highest score by a wicketkeeper-batsman in ODIs – 183* which he scored against Sri Lanka at Jaipur in 2005.
- Dhoni is the only captain to score a century at no. 7 in ODIs. He achieved this feat in 2012 when he scored 113* off 125 balls against Pakistan in Chennai. He also has the highest score by a no.7 in ODIs – 139 for Asia XI against Africa XI in Chennai in 2007.
- Dhoni holds the Indian record of most dismissals as a wicketkeeper in both Tests, ODIs and T20Is (285 in Tests, 306 in ODIs, 36 in T20Is)
- Dhoni is the only Indian wicketkeeper to have scored a double century in Tests. He achieved this feat against Australia in 2013 in Chennai where he scored 224 off 265 balls. In doing so, he also registered the highest individual score by an Indian captain in Tests.
- Dhoni holds the record of fastest century by an Indian wicketkeeper in Tests. He achieved this feat against Pakistan in Faisalabad in 2006 where is scored his maiden Test century off just 93 balls. Overall, he is the third fastest in test cricket by a wicketkeeper/batsman.
- As a captain, Dhoni holds a record for longest unbeaten run in tests from his debut, 11 tests (8 wins and 3 draws).
- Dhoni averages a staggering 103 in successful run chases in ODIs. This is the best average amongst the players to have scored a minimum of 1000 runs in successful run chases.He has scored two centuries and 14 fifties in successful run chases.
- Dhoni is the only captain to have bagged all three ICC trophies. In 2007 won the World T20; in 2011, he lifted the World Cup and in 2013, he won the Champions Trophy. He also the lifted the ICC Test championship mace in 2009.
- Dhoni is level with Kumar Sangakkara with most number of stumpings in international cricket – 133.