Author : jaideep18
MS Dhoni has been destiny’s favourite child. He has often been tagged as “lucky” by the Indian cricket fans all over and much of his success, as a captain, has been attributed to luck rather than cricketing astuteness.
It’s true that MS Dhoni is a gambler and he takes some outrageous gambles on the cricket field which at times defies cricketing logic. Be it handing the ball to Joginder Sharma in the T20 World Cup finals or promoting himself up the order in the 50 over World Cup finals, his decisions tend to have a huge impact and most often than not ends up being the move that actually tilts the game in India’s favour.
However, contrary to popular belief, there has been quite a few moments when MS Dhoni has been struck down by his so called “golden luck”.
Here are 5 instances where luck wasn’t on MS Dhoni’s side:
113 not out against Pakistan, Chennai, 2012
MS Dhoni v Pakistan: A super hundred that resulted in a loss
8,4,0,2,4 – When the top half of your team’s scorecard looks like that, there’s nothing much a number 7 can do, unless his name is MS Dhoni. The first game of the India -Pakistan series in 2012, saw Pakistan unleash two brilliant left arm pacers on the Indian batting line-up.
If the 7-feet giant Md. Irfan caused immense difficulty for the Indian batsmen with his awkward bounce, the crafty Junaid Khan ripped them apart with his deadly late swing. He swung the ball into the right- handers and knocked over the stumps of Virender Sehwag, Virat Kohli and Yuvraj Singh.
With his side groveling at 29/5, out came MS Dhoni. With almost 40 overs still to play, India were staring down the threat of being crumbling to their lowest ODI score. From there on, the Indian captain, with the help of Suresh Raina, started resurrecting the innings.
For the first 70 deliveries, he left everything outside the off stump, took singles and didn’t take any risk. Suresh Raina, on the other end, settled down and started playing his customary hoicks. The two Chennai Super Kings batsmen strung together a 73-run partnership before Raina was sent back by Mohammed Hafeez.
The match turned from there, after crawling to a 72 ball 30, MS Dhoni decided to open his shoulders. With R. Ashwin at the other end, the Indian captain launched an assault on the Pakistani bowlers. Irfan, who looked menacing in the opening overs, went for 21 and then the flood gates opened. The pulls, the cuts and the helicopter shots flowed as Dhoni muscled to a 53 ball 83 in the last 10 overs while adding an unbeaten 125 with Ashwin.
He completed his 100 and also reached 7000 ODI runs during the epic innings in a pressure-cooker situation against the arch rivals. From 29 for five to 227 in 50 overs, Dhoni perhaps played one of the best ODI innings but ended up on the losing side as Pakistan romped home with minimum fuss riding a Nasir Jamshed hundred.
139 not out against Australia, Mohali, 2013
MS Dhoni v Australia: An epic destroyed by one bad over!
Another Dhoni classic that went in vain. Though, the situation wasn’t as bad as 29/5, India were in more than a spot of bother at 76/4. The Australian bowlers were on top and the Indian batting looked hassled by their continuous short ball strategy. Mitchell Johnson had a spring in his stride and Clint McKay looked dangerous as well.
With Virat Kohli in company, MS Dhoni got into the rebuilding job. He pushed the ball into the gaps and played second fiddle while the Delhi batsmen dominated the Australian spinners and the part-timers. After a 72-run partnership, Kohli fell to a loose shot and Mitch Johnson returned to rattle Ravindra Jadeja‘s ribs to pin India down again.
With India sliding to 154/6, Dhoni decided to up the tempo. What followed was an absolute carnage. India were at 202/6 at the beginning of the 41st over. Dhoni smashed 79 runs in the next 34 deliveries that contained eight fours and five massive hits over the fence.
He added 76 runs in 11 overs with Ashwin, 37 in 5 overs with Bhuvneshwar Kumar and 32 in just 2 overs with Vinay Kumar. India ended up with a score of 303/9 – a total that looked way beyond their grasp at the end of the 12th over.
However, unlike the Pakistan game, India were in complete control of the Australian chase until the 48th over when Dhoni handed the ball to Ishant Sharma. James Faulkner smashed 30 runs of the over and brought Australia back into the game and then went on to win the game for the Kangaroos.
Was it the right call to hand Ishant Sharma, who has been struggling since the first game, such an important over? It worked in the Champions Trophy but at Mohali, it went horribly wrong.
Injury woes – losing prime bowlers in crunch series
Zaheer Khan at Lords: The injury that changed the series
Although India has won literally everything under the leadership of MS Dhoni, he has never been able to field a full strength bowling attack in any major tournament. Umesh Yadav and Varun Aaron has been permanent fixtures on the injury list while Zaheer Khan has been in and out of the Indian team for the most part of the last five years.
However, MS Dhoni’s English foray received the biggest jolt when on the first morning of the series Zaheer Khan pulled his hamstring at Lords. On a rain marred day, under overcast conditions, Zaheer Khan had the English batsmen under some discomfort till he pulled up in his delivery stride.
After receiving some treatment on field, Zaheer limped off with figures of 2 for 18 in 13.3 overs leaving India without a strike bowler on the very first day of a very important Test series.
Dhoni hoped that it would be a minor scare but his worst nightmare came true when the experienced left-armer was ruled out of the entire series with an injured right hamstring.
If Zaheer’s injury was the start of a horrible series for India, Dhoni had another bad news waiting for him before the beginning of the 3rd Test. Harbhajan Singh went out of the series with a torn abdominal muscle. Although Harbhajan was in terrible form and had combined figures of two for 287 from the first two Tests, his loss docked India a few precious points in the experience department.
There was more – along with the two experienced bowlers, India also lost Yuvraj Singh owing to a fractured finger.
India lost the series 4-0 thanks to some horrendous show on the field but when you lose three front line players during the series, there’s not much that the captain can do.
Denied by DRS – How’s that!
MS Dhoni bowling: Denied by DRS not once but twice
India hates the DRS and when it denies their captain of wickets, not once but twice, the hatred becomes even stronger. Although captain MS Dhoni got most of the reviews right during the Champions Trophy in England, the bowler MS Dhoni had a terrible time with the DRS.
The Indian skipper handed his gloves to the reserve keeper Dinesh Karthik and bowled four overs against Sri Lanka in the semi finals of the in the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy. The crowd roared as the Dhoni ran in to bowl his medium pace and immediately gave them a moment of elation as he trapped Mahela Jayawardene trapped right in front of his stumps.
The entire team and the crowd went into celebration mode but Jayawardene asked for a review. The TV replays showed that the ball might have slid down the leg side and the decision was made in favour of the batsman.
However, it wasn’t the first time that Dhoni was denied by the DRS. In the cursed England series, Dhoni handed the gloves to Rahul Dravid and got himself on at Lords after he was left a bowler short, thanks to an injury to Zaheer Khan.
It was an overcast morning at Lords and India’s depleted bowling resources forced MS Dhoni to come on and bowl his medium pace. Kevin Pietersen was batting beautifully and Dhoni had to bring himself on to relive the two medium pacers, Praveen Kumar and Ishant Sharma.
The move almost clicked as Dhoni broke through. Pietersen was on 73 when Dhoni swung one away from him. The ball, supposedly, took the knick, carried to the stand-in keeper Dravid and Billy Bowden raised the “crooked finger of death.”
KP asked for a review and again the decision was reversed in favour of the batsman.
99 run out against England, Nagpur, 2012
MS Dhoni run out vs England: A century he deserved but he never got
It was perhaps MS Dhoni’s best Test knock before he hit his double hundred against the Australians. It was knock of character as his batting in Tests was severely criticised by the media and the experts. To top it off, England were in the ascendancy on Indian soil and Dhoni’s critics were at their vocal best.
India were completely outclassed in the series by England and Dhoni’s men surrender without a fight until the 3rd day of the 4th Test at Nagpur. It was a day of great importance in Indian cricket as India’s two most fluent stroke players knuckled down and took the non glamorous way against a very potent English attack.
Virat Kohli’s Test career was under scrutiny and MS Dhoni’s existence in the Test team had serious question marks hanging over it. Dhoni and Kohli got together and fought against Anderson and company to add 198-runs to give India a semblance of chance.
Kohli went onto to score a hundred but MS Dhoni, who played the grittiest knock of his life, was dismissed for 99. At 295/6, James Anderson came round the wicket to Dhoni. The Indian captain pushed the ball to mid off and took off for a single. Alistair Cook picked it up with one hand, threw in the same motion and broke the stumps at the non-striker’s end.
MS Dhoni is super quick between the wickets and it’s not often that he falls short of the crease, but that day, he did and only by millimeters. He batted brilliantly that day and deserved a hundred but as they say, on that afternoon in Nagpur, the luckiest man in India just ran out of luck!