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When the occasion demanded, MS Dhoni rose to it and delivered again!

843   //    24 Oct 2016, 17:08 IST
MS Dhoni in action during the third ODI on Sunday (Image Courtesy: BCCI)

Sometimes certain players sense an occasion and rise up to it. This is a belief common to all sport.

There are varied examples to prove this statement. MS Dhoni perhaps gave Indian cricket's most crucial one on the night of April 2nd, 2011 when he walked out to bat at 5, ahead of Yuvraj Singh in the night of the World Cup final and played the best knock of his career.

Also Read: Is MS Dhoni losing his 'finishing touch'?

On Sunday, chasing 286, a score that India never, ever should have been pursuing in the first place, they found themselves at 41 for 2, with both openers back in the hut.

The situation demanded some solidity and Manish Pandey, in his short time at that Number 4 spot, had shown himself to be a very capable batsman. Dhoni walked in at 4 to join Kohli and as if it had been written in the stars, rose to the occasion once again.

A packed house in Mohali didn't get to see their favourite son Yuvraj Singh play in this game, but one of his best mates for years didn't fare too badly, making 80 invaluable runs in a stand of 151 runs with his deputy.

I didn't see the initial bits of his innings, but I read on text commentary as to how one of his first scoring shots was a pull and the minute I read that, I just thought, “Ah! The folks have just seen the glimpse of the old MS.”

He is often criticised for not possessing the most classical technique for a batsman, but whoever has seen Dhoni bat over the years will tell you that he is among the best pullers of a ball that Indian cricket has seen.

It's a shot which he has had in his repertoire from an early time in his career. Remember how he unleashed some of those on Shoaib Akhtar en route to his maiden Test hundred in Faisalabad in 2006?

Also read: MS Dhoni reveals why he promoted himself to No.4 in third ODI against New Zealand

The key to playing a pull shot properly is to roll the wrists as it helps keep the ball on the ground; something any young Indian player can watch and learn.

He treated the Kiwi spinners with disdain and another feature that we have seen several times in the past is the cleanness with which he handles the slower bowlers.

The Dhoni of old was unafraid to use his feet and go through with the shot and he did a lot of that to Mitchell Santner on Sunday.

He didn't make a ton, but the innings was on par to a three-figure mark and it helped Kohli as well, as he could carry on in a normal way, knowing very well that the chase was on track with the skipper at the other hand.

Is this the way forward?

Post the match, a lot of the talk surrounded around whether or not this was the way to go for Dhoni. Whether the likes of Pandey or Kedar Jadhav had to be moulded into a different role and if the captain could now bat at Number 4.

It's a topic that has yielded mixed views among fans and one that will continue to do so.

India are in a dilemma between promoting new batsmean and giving them enough overs to bat and providing their captain an opportunity to show that he can still make the big scores.

While taking the middle route hardly gives a conclusive result, I think the team is better off in taking that route at this moment in time. And so I feel neither 4 nor 6, but it is number 5 that Dhoni is most suited to bat in this line-up.

Also Read: Sourav Ganguly rates Virat Kohli over MS Dhoni as India's best finisher

It’s a slot, which he has not spoken about much, but should consider it, since it will give him overs to bat.

One big reason for him to look as comfortable as he did on the night was because he could take his time to settle in, and at number 5, more often than not, he will get that chance.

For now, it remains to be seen if he can take this confidence forward and continue batting the way he did in Mohali, at his hometown in Ranchi.

If he does so, then he would have given them a match to remember. Off to Ranchi.

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