MS Dhoni slammed his first ODI century on Thursday since October 2013. It happened after new skipper Virat Kohli promoted his predecessor to No 5 so that he can express himself freely. He shared a record 256-run stand with Yuvraj Singh as India posted 381/6 and took an unbeatable 2-0 lead in the series against England.
Following his maiden century against England, HT looks at Dhoni’s five best ODI knocks that will remain the epitome of his batting.
1 ) 91* vs Sri Lanka - 2011 World Cup final, Mumbai
Though Yuvraj Singh was the key component of India’s 2011 World Cup campaign, it was skipper MS Dhoni’s unbeaten knock of 91 in a pressure situation that made it possible for India to win the World Cup after 28 years. India had the home support, but that also doubled up the pressure on the home team to realise the dream of a billion people.
Dhoni, who was not in his best form in the World Cup, surprised everyone by promoting himself ahead of the in-form Yuvraj. He took the big decision to negate the threat of Sri Lanka spinner Muttiah Muralitharan. His 109-run partnership with Gautam Gambhir (97) for the fourth wicket put India in a commanding position and his unbeaten 54-run partnership with Yuvraj (21) helped India clinch a six-wicket win as Dhoni wrapped it up with a straight six off SL pacer Nuwan Kulasekara. This knock gave a generation of fans one billion reasons to smile.
2) 148 vs Pakistan - 2005 at Vizag
After a string of low scores in his first four ODIs, Dhoni finally announced his arrival on the international scene with an explosive ton in the second ODI of the six-match series. Dhoni and Virender Sehwag (74) put on a 96-run stand after Sachin Tendulkar was dismissed cheaply. However, Pakistan snapped two quick wickets to again change the momentum. But Dhoni rebuild India’s innings with a 149-run fourth wicket stand with Rahul Dravid (52) as India made 356/9. Pakistan fell 58 runs short of the target.
3) 183* vs Sri Lanka - 2005 at Jaipur
It was a match dominated by two wicketkeepers. After Kumar Sangakkara slammed an unbeaten 138 to help Sri Lanka post an imposing 298/4 at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur, India wicketkeeper MS Dhoni went a step further as his 145-ball unbeaten 183 eclipsed Adam Gilchrist’s 172 vs Zimbabwe in 2003-04 for the highest score by a wicketkeeper-batsman in ODI history. The departure of Sachin Tendulkar in the first over would have made things difficult for India. But Dhoni came all guns blazing at No 3 as he slaughtered the Lankan attack. He smacked 15 fours and 10 sixes. Dhoni carried on with a runner to take India home with almost four overs to spare.
4) 101* vs Bangladesh - 2010 at Dhaka
After posting their then highest ODI total of 296/6, Bangladesh had India in trouble as they were reduced to 51 for three in 8.1 overs. Dhoni and Kohli (91), however, turned the match around with a match-winning 152-run stand for the fourth wicket. Dhoni then joined hands with Suresh Raina (51 not out) to help India win with six wickets and 15 balls to spare to save the team from a shocking defeat.
5) 50* vs SL - 2008 at Adelaide
The historic CB Series win Down Under not just showed his remarkable captaincy, but it also showcased the remarkable skills of Dhoni as a finisher. While his cool demeanour has guided India to many memorable victories, the eighth match of the CB Series was one of the occasions where his finishing skills were put to the test. Chasing 239 to win, India were reduced to 99/4 in 23.2 overs. Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh (76) steadied the ship with a 59-run stand for the fifth wicket, but Yuvraj’s dismissal put the game in balance. Dhoni, however, kept his cool and batted with the tailenders to see the team through to a two-wicket win and five balls to spare.