MS Dhoni: Dizzying Highs And Dismal Lows

The irony of Mahendra Singh’s Dhoni’s success in India’s ICC T20 World Cup win in 2007 was that none of the other seniors, including Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid, wanted any part of it. T20 wasn’t cricket, after all…. There began a graph of dizzying heights and dismal lows, that mark MS Dhoni’s tenure as captain.

The Highs

1. ICC T20 World Cup (2007): So when Dhoni led his young side to the tournament in South Africa, he had unlocked the gates to success and fame. A gripping final in Johannesburg against eternal rivals Pakistan, which India won by five runs in the last over bowled by Joginder Sharma, marked Dhoni’s arrival as captain of India.

2. ICC World Cup 2011: India entered the final after hammering Pakistan in a high-voltage semi-final in Mohali.

The final was a tense affair at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. Sri Lanka, keen to repeat their 1996 success, scored a pretty daunting 274 for six, with the silky Mahela Jayawardene remaining unbeaten on 103 off 88 balls.

India looked in deep trouble, losing Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar early. But Gautam Gambhir played a superb knock of 97 in an 83-run third wicket partnership with Virat Kohli.

In came Dhoni, and with Gambhir, carried India to a winning position, which he later sealed off with the famous six.

3. ICC Champions Trophy 2013: Dhoni’s genius as a captain was truly established in this tournament.

India had managed a modest 129 for seven in a rain-truncated 20 overs at Edgbaston. Dhoni then deployed Ravindra Jadeja with his then innocuous left-arm spin to great effect, as the Saurashtra cricketer claimed two wickets and India emerged improbable winners by five runs.

Dhoni thereby also became the first captain to have won all three ICC trophies – the T20, the 50-over World Cup and also the Champions Trophy.

4. Dhoni also won the Commonwealth Bank tri-series involving hosts Australia and Sri Lanka in 2007-08.

The Lows

1. T20 World Cup (2009): Defending champions India were sent packing as England wrought vengeance for the 2007 debacle.

India went down by three runs to England at Lord’s. It was India’s second successive Super Eights defeat. England’s score of 153/7 looked vulnerable against the hard-hitting Indians. But some superb bowling by England left India needing an impossible 15 from three balls.

This loss and defeats to the West Indies and South Africa left India out in the cold, a dent on Dhoni’s captaincy record.

2. T20 World Cup (2014): India’s fortunes began taking a tumble in ICC tournaments since 2014. They lost to Sri Lanka, who claimed their first World Twenty20 title with a six-wicket victory against former champions India in Dhaka.

3. ICC World Cup 2015: This one ended at the semi-final stage, with hosts Australia stopping India rather comprehensively. The Australians went on to win the title.

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