MS Dhoni: The legend grows
Whoever thought that Dhoni is well past his impeccable hitting witnessed a miracle against Kings XI Punjab where he almost took his side to victory after what seemed like an impossible feat to achieve. But on Wednesday, Dhoni showed the world why he is regarded as the best finisher of all time. "The legend grows," Harsha Bhogle was quoted as saying after M.S Dhoni hit the winning six off Corey Anderson to take CSK to victory with yet another last over thriller. It was his mischievous smile after he hit the ball fourth ball of the final over for a six RCB's home ground erupted into cheers of MSD, MSD.
This IPL has indeed witnessed a new Dhoni. The Dhoni who used to take his time before going for the big hits is long gone. He doesn't bat lower down the order now, he doesn't take time to hit those biggies and today's match was a true example of the same spectacle where into the second ball in his innings, Negi's flighted delivery was sent sailing over the fence.
Off late Dhoni has been criticized for his slow batting in the T20s and his reputation as a finisher has gone done considerably.
Switch to IPL 2018, the Viking superhero is as new as when he stepped into the field for the first time. "Deserve the applause. I am happy for him. Great to see him strike a few, not against us though. We wouldn't have liked that. He is hitting the ball really well this IPL. He is in a happy space, batting higher up and expressing himself. Seems to be enjoying it. Credit to him as well.", Virat Kohli was quoted as saying in the post-match interview on being asked about the onslaught from M.S Dhoni.
He has scored 209 runs in 6 matches so far with an outstanding average of 69.66 and strike rate of 165.87. He is the second highest run scorer in the team, behind the Orange cap holder, Ambati Rayudu.
Needing 100 odd runs in the last seven overs, things looked unlikely for Chennai Super Kings but credit shouldn't just go to Dhoni alone, keeping his calm alongside Captain Cool was Ambati Rayudu. Dhoni, who is known to take the game to the last over, worked out his plan perfectly by stealing singles and converting those singles into doubles. There were occasional boundaries during the 13th and 14th over but as soon as Kohli lost his best bowlers of the day, Chahal and Umesh, Rayudu and Dhoni released an onslaught on bowlers bringing the margin to 30 runs the last two.
Bravo added 11 runs after Rayudu got out to give the strike to M.S Dhoni. A ball outside off was jumped at and hit straight for a six as the Viking removed his helmet to see the crowd cheer his name. A mischievous smile covered his face and Bravo hugged it out before leaving the stadium with a warm applause from fans alike. There was no RCB sad cry or CSK chants, the crowd had only two words up their sleeves, MSD and Mahi.
It feels wonderful on so many levels and watching M.S Dhoni play like he has been playing throughout this IPL is something that every cricket fan has been wanting to see. No matter which team you support and which player is your favorite, you love watching M.S Dhoni hit those sixes. Don't you?