MS Dhoni is called the best finisher in T20 for a reason — when he's in the middle, one hardly doubts the result will not go CSK's way.
That's the sway he holds in the format. His influence is not just restricted to when he contributes with the bat, but also when he dons the captain's
Ironically, the man who's usually reluctant to flirt with innovative field positions in ODIs and Tests, is in fact, at his innovative best in this tournament, especially while dealing with his India teammates. Obviously, he knows a lot more about their strengths and weaknesses.
The knowledge that Virat Kohli doesn't play the sweep shot well made Dhoni place both short fine-leg and square-leg inside the circle for R Ashwin.
The field restrictions were off and there was no need to have those two men in the ring, but Dhoni sensed a wicket-taking opportunity.
Virat didn't fall for it, which shows his maturity.
Similarly, for Virender Sehwag there was a concerted effort to bowl short with a fielder manning the square-leg boundary.
While going for big hits may be the need of the hour, one needs to be aware that you can only hit the ball out of the park if you make the right contact, which means watching the ball till the very last moment.
Dhoni ticks all these boxes and more while batting in the second half of a T20 innings. He possesses an acute game sense, which often leads him to rotate strike. This displays the immense self-belief he has in his skills to clear the fence at will.
Though bowling a yorker outside the off-stump used to be an effective way to negate Dhoni and restrict damage, for his bat swing didn't allow him to go over the covers region that often.
But even that isn't a 100% safe option anymore, for he's started waiting a little longer and flaying them over the points region.
The writer is a former India opener