MS Dhoni has completed four last-over run-chases for CSK in IPL 2014
MS Dhoni’s cool headed attitude has resulted in most close finishes landing in Chennai Super Kings favour © IANS
MS Dhoni has finished four run-chases in the last over for the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014. On three occasions, he has hit a six in the last over. Nishad Pai Vaidya writes about Dhoni’s penchant to take it into the last over.
In the most tense run-chases, Mahendra Singh Dhoni exudes monk-like temperament to take his side through. Remember Adelaide 2012? As India lost wickets and moved towards the target, Dhoni kept his calm only to smash a huge six in the last over. Go back to Trinidad in 2013, when Sri Lanka hit back in the tri-series final. Dhoni cut a lone figure and smashed a couple of sixes and a four in the last over to seal a memorable one-wicket triumph. Those two games perhaps stand-out in Dhoni’s long resume of last over finishes.
It isn’t only at the international level, but even for the CSK in the Indian Premier League (IPL) that Dhoni has often mastered final over run-chases. The most remarkable one was against Kings XI Punjab at Dharamsala in 2010 when his blitz in the final over took Chennai into the semi-finals and the rest was history. But, a very pertinent fact is that Chennai have finished their run-chases four times in the IPL 2014 with Dhoni being unbeaten on all occasions. On three occasions, Dhoni hit a six in that last over to turn it completely in Chennai’s favour. What is it that helps him stay so cool?
It is quite remarkable how Dhoni maintains his composure and looks unruffled by it all. It is that supreme confidence in his power that he manages to back himself. The bowlers have a very small margin for error and if they get it wrong even by a centimeter, he will send it into the crowd. Thus, even though the opposition may have runs on hand before the final over, the bowler is under immense pressure while bowling to Dhoni as his success rate in these finishes is well known. And invariably, the pressure gets to them and they get it wrong.
But, there are times when Dhoni goes a bit too slow and takes the game into the last over. There are times when it could have been finished a lot earlier, saving the spectators a bit of nervousness. It is astonishing at times and then Dhoni unleashes his beast in the last over. The basis of his philosophy is to bat as long as possible, even if it is a T20, avoid anything rash and if you get to the end, you will win it. And more often than not, he does get it right.
However, there is that ever little margin of error here as well. Back in 2012, Dhoni had gone slow during a T20 International against New Zealand and India lost by one run. Even then, it could have been finished much before. But, he did not get strike for a major part of the last over and India could not finish the job. Thus, Dhoni may keep that in mind while fashioning his run-chases. The odd finish in the last over is fine, it happens. But, it may be a bit too often for the liking.
At least that is what some one sitting outside the boundary may feel, but who knows what goes through Dhoni’s mind. For him, it may be just another day!
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(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_45)