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5 bowlers who got the better of MS Dhoni in the last over

MS Dhoni’s last-over failure against Zimbabwe has caused a lot of ire in Indian cricket fans
Tanuj Kar

Mahendra Singh Dhoni has earned for himself a pretty satisfying title for being arguably the greatest finisher of the game that India has ever seen. But his failure to take India over the line in the 1st T20I of the ongoing series against Zimbabwe at Harare, one which necessitated a meagre 8 runs to be scored off the last over with 5 wickets to spare, has spurred severe criticism and fury over his lacklustre finishing.

However, this wasn’t the first time M S Dhoni’s efforts at the death culminated in a woeful loss for his side. The charismatic captain’s celebrated career is marred by several instances where the bowler got the better of him in his favourite last over whose deliveries he’s otherwise known to smash out of the park with ease.

Let us now take a look at 5 such instances:

#1 Chris Woakes – India vs England, Birmingham, Sep 7, 2014:

The T20I loss against England is something Dhoni was left to rue at the end

The only T20I played between India and England in September 2014 was poised to be an easy victory for the former. At one stage, India were cruising to the target of 181 with an asking rate of 9.28 and eight wickets in hand. Kohli’s dismissal brought MS Dhoni out onto the pitch to complete the task but his slow start made it seem like he was steadying himself for another swashbuckling finish.

Gradually, the runs to balls remaining ratio rose higher and settled at 17 to get from the last six with Dhoni and Rayudu at the crease. A six, a four and a couple later, India fell short by 3 runs at which pacer Chris Woakes went off to join his teammates to celebrate the narrow English victory.

#2 Ashish Nehra – Rising Pune Supergiants vs Sunrisers Hyderabad – IPL, May 10, 2016

The unfavourable streak was maintained in IPL 2016 as well

The 40th match of IPL 2016 had the eventual champions Sunrisers Hyderabad posting a weak total of 137 runs against Dhoni’s Rising Pune Supergiants.

Any given day, 60 runs needed off 40 balls with 6 wickets in hand in an IPL match would be a smooth ask for the batting side. The bowlers’ threat gets multiplied if the batter out there is MS Dhoni. But such was not the outcome to happen in this particular match which went the Hyderabad franchise’s way after a calculated 30 from 20 balls by Dhoni, topped off by Ashish Nehra’s successful defence of 14 runs in the last over for Pune.

#3 Lasith MalingaIndia vs Sri Lanka – ICC World T20 Final at Dhaka, Apr 6, 2014

No fireworks from Dhoni’s bat in the ICC WT20 2014 finale

A world cup final mandates the on-field players to perform at their highest level so as to overcome their ultimate hurdle in the way of sheer glory. Captain cool was no exception when he came out to bat against Sri Lanka in the finale of the 2014 ICC World T20.

Virat Kohli’s lone show against the bowling attack managed to propel India to a fighting tally of 123/3 in 19 overs. The big-hitter that MSD is, an explosive show from his bat in the 20th over, off Lasith Malinga, was critical to pose a stiffer target for the Sri Lankan opponents to chase. Switching ends to put the in-form Virat on strike would’ve been another wise route to take for the wicketkeeper-batsman.

Instead, MS Dhoni ended up facing five deliveries straight, scoring only 3 off his willow. The Indian innings closed at 130 after 20 overs, which the Lankans then conveniently scaled by virtue of a well-knit batting display and lifted the winners’ trophy.

#4 James Franklin – India vs New Zealand at Chennai, Sep 11, 2012

Brendon McCullum had hit 91 in the same match where Dhoni faltered at the end

In the 2nd T20I of the New Zealand series, a quickfire 70 off 41 balls by Virat Kohli had lowered the asking rate to 7 runs per over before MS Dhoni hit the crease. What transpired in the course of the ensuing spells by Vettori, Oram and Franklin is something every Indian cricket enthusiast would wish to forget.

Instead of unleashing the punishing jabs and helicopters from his arsenal, Dhoni pushed for singles and sneaky twos to keep 13 runs required off the last over. James Franklin’s medium pace headed his way, Dhoni rotated the strike after hitting only one boundary. Yuvraj was bowled out off the very next delivery, and the new man in, Rohit Sharma could only fetch two doubles from the last two balls, thereby causing India’s final score to fall short off the Kiwis’ mark of 167 by a solitary run.

#5 Kagiso Rabada – India vs South Africa at Kanpur, Oct 11, 2015

Dhoni failed in the 1st ODI against visitors South Africa in October 2015

The most recent occurrence of this list, Dhoni’s last over flop against visitors South Africa in the first ODI of the series last October stands out for its disappointment quotient as well.

Right from the outset, the Indians were in the driving seat of the 304-run chase as Rohit Sharma took the imposing bowling attack to the cleaners en route to his 150 while Ajinkya Rahane pitched in from the other end to contribute with a fine half-century. When Rohit fell, it was evident that the opener had done his job in style, leaving only 35 to get from 23 deliveries with 6 wickets in hand – MSD batting on 9 off 16.

Spinner Imran Tahir and speedsters Dale Steyn and newcomer Kagiso Rabada kept picking economical overs, prompting the commentators to express their astonishment on why Dhoni was preferring singles off full tosses over putting them away to the boundary.

To bowl the last over to someone like MS Dhoni was a mammoth task for the young Rabada, especially with a thin 10-run-cushion to protect. His 4th delivery claimed Dhoni who had attempted an awkward slog only to see the ball settling within the bowler’s clutches. The danger-man dismissed, Proteas clinched a 5-run win from the jaws of defeat.

Edited by Staff Editor

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