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MS Dhoni – The Finisher – is back!

MD Dhoni, Asia Cup 2016, India, Bangladesh
Dhoni has finished matches with a six on nine occasions — a world record.

One does not question MS Dhoni’s match-winning abilities. Yet again, as he has done so often before, he wrapped up the Asia Cup title for India with a bang and without a blemish.  The MS Dhoni of old – the MS Dhoni who used to finish games for India with bat in hand – is back.

Over the past year or two it has become painstakingly obvious that MS Dhoni’s abilities are on the wane. His batting is not the awe-inspiring, carnage-inducing feature that it once was and his captaincy is becoming more reactive and proactive. But feats like the one in Mirpur suggest that Dhoni may have one last hurrah left in him.

In a rain-curtailed 15-over-a-side Asia Cup final against hosts Bangladesh, India were chasing 121 for victory when MS Dhoni promoted himself up the order at 99 for two. In India’s four previous matches in the 2016 Asia Cup, Dhoni had faced just nine balls and was suffering a minor back injury throughout the tournament. Yet he promoted himself ahead of Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh and Hardik Pandya and was faced with India needing 19 runs off two overs to win. Dhoni hit a 6 of the first ball, a single of the second, a boundary of the fourth and another 6 of the fifth to win the final for India with more than an over to spare. He calmly collected a stump and walked off in front of a stunned crowd, as he has done many times before.

The precursor to the India – Bangladesh clash revolved around a morphed photo of a decapitated MS Dhoni, as Bangladeshi fans ensured a provocative and unsavoury feel to the final. As luck – and tremendous skill – would have it, Dhoni had the last laugh.

TV presenter Harsha Bhogle called Dhoni ‘the coolest cricketer in the world’ – and yet that statement did not stretch to the realms of hyperbole. Dhoni now leads India in the World T20 tournament at home this month and is surely eyeing a repeat of 2007, when he won the inaugural World T20 in his first series as captain. An encore seems more possible than not and if anyone can engineer it, MS Dhoni can.

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