MS Dhoni has laid to rest, at least for the moment, the heavy criticism he has been under for failing to perform with the bat in the 2017 Indian Premier League (IPL). The veteran came good on Saturday evening with his unbeaten 34-ball 61 blitz which helped Rising Pune Supergiant defeat defending champions Sunrisers Hyderabad in a thrilling last ball finish in Pune. (Match Highlights)
Dhoni’s knock drew praise from none other than Virat Kohli. The India captain could not hold back his emotions and lauded his predecessor on Twitter. (Match scorecard)
“Ms Dhoni does what he’s done with so much confidence over the years. What a champion knock. Great to watch,” tweeted Kohli.
Ms Dhoni does what he's done with so much confidence over the years. What a champion knock. Great to watch 💪— Virat Kohli (@imVkohli) April 22, 2017
Of late, the former India captain has been under stress to perform with the willow. In the five matches he played before Saturday, Dhoni had only mustered 61 runs with a highest score of 28.
But on Saturday, chasing a challenging target of 177, RPS were in a spot of bother with two down for 87 in the 11th over when Dhoni walked in. The Ranchi-born took off slowly but kept accelerating as the innings progressed; eventually helping the home team reach home with support from Manoj Tiwary.
Steve Smith, who replaced Dhoni as RPS skipper earlier this year, said that under pressure Dhoni “came good again”.
“Got pretty close towards the end, but MS did what’s he’s done for such a long period of time. Under pressure, he comes good again. We batted really well, Tripathi at the top and MS did what he’s done for such a long time,” Smith said at the post-match presentation where Dhoni was named Man-of-the-Match.
Former team India director Ravi Shastri also took to social media to commend the “legend”.
In his response, Dhoni said: “There is no run-rate that is high. It boils down to how well the opposition bowlers execute. So seven, eight, nine, 10 (run rate) doesn’t matter. What matters is keeping your calmness.”