Crucial Knocks by Dhoni:- Leadership is a separate quality a person can have and especially In Indian cricket it is highly pressured job as each and every process gets media attention and the question comes on to the leader like an ocean. For example, if the team is losing despite some brilliant leadership, still the Indian media throws some cruel questions at the leader and also pressurize the leader with some cruel labels on him. handling media should be the first skill an Indian captain should learn so that the captain can gain that composure to handle media.
Now what makes this pressure more tense to handle, yes, all these tensions will take a toll to the personal performance of the leader. If a player is just a batsman, his only duty is to score runs while batting, but the captain will be thinking about the entire team and entire game while he is batting which makes the concentration level little difficult which keeps the performance of the captain low.
There is the captain who scores runs and also scores runs in crucial situations despite leadership thinking wavering in their mind, yes, there is the Indian captain MS Dhoni who score runs at crucial juncture of the game and in today’s column let us discuss about the top 10 knocks played by him as captain of India. This knock is purely selected by the situation and the way he handled pressure situation with his calmness and played the knocks and not just by a number of runs.
Top Crucial Knocks by Dhoni as an Indian Captain
17 not out in 2008 Vs Australia:
Crucial Knocks by Dhoni:- Yes, you all see that right, it is just 17 runs on the board for him but that will remain a crucial knock of him as captain under immense pressure. Imagine, Australia is just another good side in the present generation, but a decade ago, they were one of the toughest sides to beat and an Australian defeat was rare enough to witness. In such situation, with young Indian team playing commonwealth bank series in Australia and the bowling of Indian team was extremely beautiful and for the first time in the history of cricket, the Indian team was taking an upper hand on the Australian soil in ODI’s. they bowled out Australia for 150 odd runs which gave Indian fans a big hope of beating Australia on a particular day and everyone looked forward to the chase.
The chase was actually going good with a decent start but soon India crumbled to 102-5 and they needed 50 more runs to win and the situation was Australia was looking good that if Dhoni got out, the last 5 wickets will be collapsed for another 25 runs and India will be bowled out under 130. But this is where, the calmness of captain cool worked out really well, his patient 17 without pressing the panic button led India home in the chase and made fans hopeful that India has chance to win tri-series and avenge the ugly Sydney test defeat in which umpiring was against them.
124 against Australia in 2009:
Crucial Knocks by Dhoni:- It was the home series against Australia and India lost the first game against Australia by 4 runs despite miracle heroics from Harbhajan Singh. Coming into the second ODI, it was very important for India to level the series and give a strong comeback in the 7 match ODI series. India started well but was not going in a very strong manner. Dhoni came to bat at number 5 and was looking at the MSD the entire world missed and was looking Aggressive with his shots.
He scored an amazing hundred after a long time in his career and he score tow back to back sixes from 88 to reach his century and he never took off his helmet, he just waved his bat for a second and ended his celebration, after all, that is why he is named as captain cool, right? he scored 124 from 107 balls and got out but the damage has been done to Australia as India were already 352 on the board which was well enough to win the game level the series. This knock had everything a captain’s knock should have and his shots were stuffed with aggression and responsibility at the same time.
36 VS Australia in the World T20 Semifinal, 2007:
Crucial Knocks by Dhoni:- This match will surely be remembered for India’s World cup hero Yuvraj Singh has his 70- run knock from 30 balls has turned around fortunes for India in the game. But there is something in the fact that cricket is a team sport and another end has to be managed as well. Yuvraj was bashing Australian bowlers around the park after a slow start and another end was managed nicely by the captain cool. it kept pressure away from Yuvraj and also boosted those extra runs in the grand total which is always going to be crucial in the game.
He scored 36 of 18 balls which helped team to get that extra 20 runs on the board and yes, that proved crucial for the team as India won the Semifinal by 14 runs and yes, Yuvraj was the hero of the game, but the support system innings played Dhoni as captain makes this knock as crucial knock of him as Indian captain. Scoring 36 from 18 balls is still aggressive and quick-fire and it is this cameo that matters the most in crunch games.
45 against South Africa in World T20 2007:
It was a do or die game in the Super Eight stages against South Africa and India lost early wickets which saw them struggling at 33-3 and later on 61-4. A crucial knock was needed to get India to a decent total. Along with Rohit Sharma who is known as hitman now, Dhoni played a responsible knock of 45 off 33 balls which gave India a 150 plus total which they defended easily and qualified for Semi final to lock horns with Australia. This knock had all the calmness and the captain cool was introducing him as the calmest player in the world.
45 not out against West Indies in 2015 World cup:
India was chasing 183 and was losing wickets and then came the captain cool this time with much more experience to score a patient 45 to finish the game for the team and get those points in the table. That knock needed immense patience as West Indies was bowling well and MSD special has taken India over the finish line. That was a batting which every captain can get inspired from and it had all the responsibility in the world stuffed in it.
50 not out Vs Sri Lanka, 2008:
Back to commonwealth bank series and India was playing crunch game against Sri Lanka and was chasing 236 for victory. Wickets were falling on the other end but Dhoni was playing an ever- sensible innings and scored 50 without even scoring a boundary. The last 10 runs had huge pressure as he was handling the innings with a tail ender Ishant Sharma in the other End. Finally, he guided the team with his half-century which dint have a boundary and that innings are one of the most sensible innings in the history.
45 not out Vs Sri Lanka, 2013:
India was playing the final of Tri-series in West Indies against Sri Lanka, chasing 202 to win, India collapsed in an easy chase and last over need more than 15 runs for victory with just one wicket in hand. Only minor good news and minimal hope for India in the game Was the fact that it was Dhoni on Strike. He finished the game and won the Game for India and this knock is worth more than 5 centuries at least as it was under a marvelous pressure. This knock will be counted as a gem among the Indian fans.
92 not out against South Africa at Indore, 2015:
Failing to finish the game in first ODI, all attention was on trolling the captain cool again, but no one remembered that he is best at trolling the trollers in the most unexpected time. coming in at number 7 when India was struggling at 104-5, he scores a massive unbeaten 92 to take India to competitive total and India won the game that night and no one dared to talk about the form of captain cool that day.
91 not out against Sri Lanka, 2011 world cup final:
Out of form till the Semi final of the world cup 2011, if he was not the captain, the team management would have benched him. when everyone was expecting Yuvraj Singh to come out to bat at number 5, there came the surprise as the captain cool came out ahead despite being totally out of form. He Played his heart out and scored runs when it mattered most and no one was talking about his failures till the Semifinal and he was the hero in the night of the final Along with Gauti. This knock will be remembered forever as it made Dhoni Thala in South India.
113 against Pakistan, 2012:
India was struggling at 29-5 and Dhoni came into bat in his second home Chennai and scored one of the greatest centuries by the captain. He finished at 113 not out taking the team to 227. Even though India lost that game, his knock will remain special forever.
We are looking for more special knocks from him as a player in the 2019 world cup.