Doubt Dhoni at your own peril and stop whining you haters
Just over ten days of action in the Indian Premier League Season 11, we have seen plenty. Great batting, beautiful bowling and splendid fielding, but the world talked about just one man – Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
What did he do so special to win hearts? Yes he played an inspiring unbeaten innings of 79 (6 fours and 5 sixes), but ended up on the losing side.
Young, highly talented and Dhoni's under study Sanju Samson of Rajasthan Royals also played an exciting innings scoring an unbeaten 92 and ended up on the winning side. Also reveling for Delhi Daredevils was another wicketkeeper-batsman Jason Roy, who scored 91 for a winning cause.
Then why is Dhoni being appreciated to the brim. Every platform on the social media is filled with nothing but worthy comments on Dhoni.
That's certainly not a surprise.
More than a win for Chennai Super Kings, the importance of that knock was to silence the haters of Dhoni, who have not stopped asking for his retirement.
People have cried foul when there were few instances where he couldn't reflect on his past performances, but no one considered the fact that he needs to bat up the order to get into the groove of a finisher.
Fittest of all
The swashbuckling knock in severe pain might have gone in vain, but had enough to explain how he can pace out the innings while coming into bat higher than usual.
With age catching up, Dhoni definitely needs some time to settle down before launching those helicopters, and once he does there is no stopping him. Playing through injuries is nothing new for the former Indian skipper and no one will dispute his fitness level.
Former England player Nasser Hussain while commenting on television expressed his surprise knowing that this was Dhoni's highest score in IPL history. "I think it was because he bats down and if had batted up he would have had more 100s by now," Nasser was quoted as saying.
Dhoni is still young at heart and he can continue to play for many more years. His brain works to precision and he calculates everything spot on. At Mohali he did his calculations perfectly but the lack of support from the other end or the lack of good start for his team in the run chase was the ultimate difference.
Not the first time
This is not the first time Dhoni has been part of the losing side with an unbeaten knock. This is the third time Dhoni has faced the situation. This is also the 50th occasion Dhoni has remained not out and his top four contributions have been unbeaten knocks.
Don't be surprised if Dhoni comes up with similar knocks in the forthcoming matches, but the sad thing, however, is that he cannot perform in his own den – the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium at Chepauk.
Cricket bowed to fringe political forces and Chennai had to shift their home base to Pune. Whether Pune will have the same atmosphere as Chennai will be revealed only on April 20, when CSK will play hosts to Rajasthan Royals.
Other teams like Kolkata, Delhi, Rajasthan, Bangalore and Punjab are having their ups and downs in the tournament, while Mumbai is still searching for that form which made them champions last season.
However, taking pole position has been the orange army (Sunrisers Hyderabad), who maintained a clean slate under the captaincy of Kane Williamson. Surprisingly the Hyderabad franchise has not missed David Warner. The ploy of bowling first, restricting the opponents to small totals, and then chasing it down has been the mantra.
Without doubt, it can be said that Sunrisers have so far exhibited the best bowling performance and also smart fielding, especially Manish Pandey leading from the front. Williamson's team will now travel to Mohali for their next match against Kings XI Punjab on
The author is the former Sports Editor of Times of Oman and a freelance writer.