In IPL 2018, after two years of not captaining the Rising Pune Supergiant team, MS Dhoni resumed being the leader of the Chennai Super Kings – the ninth season in which he would assume this role. The Indian captain was no more the Indian captain either; Virat Kohli led India in all three formats now. CSK went on to win the IPL for the third time. But more importantly, it was the resurrection of MS Dhoni that mattered to cricket fans across the globe. His place as the spiritual leader and diminishing finisher of the men in blue was being questioned; in yellow, he gave everyone a glimpse of what he has to offer for a team that thrives on experience. His bat did the talking.
To be fair, MS Dhoni is never going to end up in the top 5 of an Orange Cap list in IPL cricket – his role is as a finisher, he bats deep, and doesn’t have an opportunity to score towering centuries like openers do. He finished 13th in the run-getters list in 2018, his best season, and is 11th this season despite a few stunning innings.
A 50 from him is usually match-defining, which is why it’s his average that matters more. On Sunday night, against Virat Kohli’s table-bottom RCB team, CSK had lost their top order once again. And Dhoni walked in at 32/4 while chasing 163. With 26 needed off the last over, he launched into Umesh Yadav and managed to get 24 of those runs. He failed to connect with 2 needed off the last ball – a statistic that seemed unimaginable minutes ago. Dhoni’s 84* (48) was one of the tournament’s most romantic innings; he refused singles to Bravo in the penultimate over, and almost pulled off a Houdini in the last over when all hope was lost. The CSK v/s RCB match went down as perhaps one of the finest IPL games in its history, thanks to the league’s most successful player.
Let’s take a look, through numbers, at what has changed over the years for Dhoni in IPL cricket. Book your IPL tickets here to watch the man live in action: https://in.bookmyshow.com/sports/ipl-chennai-super-kings/ET00097727
2 – the number of times Dhoni has scored more than 450 runs in an IPL season. Once in 2013 (461) when IPL had ten teams, and again in 2018, when he scored 455 runs in 16 games. He is on 314 this season, with at least 6 games for CSK to play (if they make the playoffs)
2 – the number of times Dhoni has averaged more than 50 in an IPL season (2014, 2018). He averaged 74 and 76 in the two seasons, with 10 and 9 not outs to his name. He is averaging 104 in 2019, with 4 not outs to his name already.
3 – the number of seasons in which Dhoni has played with a strike-rate of more than 150 (2018, 2013, 2011)
3 – the number of seasons in which Dhoni has faced more than 300 balls (2018, 2015, 2008)
47 – the number of sixes Dhoni has smashed since the beginning of 2018 for CSK (30+17). There is still a bit of 2019 to go, and he has never hit more than 45 sixes in two consecutive seasons before this.
62 – the number of not outs for Dhoni in his 184 games, an IPL record.
Dhoni has achieved 4000 runs as captain in IPL