Chennai Super Kings' (CSK) MS Dhoni is the captain with the most matches, most wins, and highest win percentage in the Indian Premier League (IPL). The wicket-keeper is known for leading from the front and the primary way by which he displays this trait is by staying at the crease till the end to finish matches for his side.
MS Dhoni has done this on countless occasions, especially in the world's most prestigious T20 league. Having won the IPL title 3 times, the Ranchi man is no stranger to high-pressure situations. His incredible presence of mind and ice-cool nerves have held him in good stead when under the pump, and MS Dhoni has come out on top more often than not.
In this article, we take a look at the 5 greatest IPL finishes by MS Dhoni, who turns 39 tomorrow.
#5 MS Dhoni for CSK vs SRH (IPL 2013)
In the 34th match of IPL 2013, youngster Ashish Reddy found himself with the ball in hand, with 15 runs to defend and a set MS Dhoni at the other end. Understandably, the all-rounder wilted under pressure to concede these runs in the first four balls itself, handing CSK a 5-wicket victory in their chase of 160.
MS Dhoni dispatched the second legal delivery for a massive six over long-on, before sending the third and fourth balls to the boundary to seal a memorable win. The captain finished on 67 off just 37 balls and was named the Man of the Match.
Coach Stephen Fleming even glibly remarked after the game that his side did not deserve to win the game.
#4 MS Dhoni for CSK vs MI (IPL 2014)
In the 33rd match of the 2014 IPL, favourites CSK were chasing 160 against arch-rivals Mumbai Indians when a flurry of wickets in the last few overs brought MS Dhoni to the crease.
When Kieron Pollard was entrusted the last over with 11 runs to defend, the odds were heavily tilted in favour of MS Dhoni, who didn't disappoint. After the West Indian bowled a horrific wide off the first ball, the CSK skipper scampered through for a brace to retain the strike for the second ball.
Ball 3 cleared the deep mid-wicket boundary with ease and Ball 4 was dispatched to the unmanned extra-cover region, taking the away side to a thrilling 4-wicket victory. Yet another page in the MS Dhoni book of finishing.
#3 MS Dhoni for CSK vs RCB (IPL 2018)
In CSK's comeback season, they pulled off two improbable chases in their first two games, which served as a sign of things to come in the 24th match against the Royal Challengers Bangalore at the Chinnaswamy Stadium.
Chasing a daunting 208, CSK found themselves needing 16 to win off the last Corey Anderson over, with the in-form duo of MS Dhoni and Dwayne Bravo at the crease.
After Bravo blasted 10 runs off the first two balls, a single off the third meant that MS Dhoni had five runs to get and three balls to go. The next delivery was mowed across the mid-wicket boundary as CSK cruised back to the top of the IPL table in spectacular fashion.
MS Dhoni finished on 70 off 34 balls and was rightfully awarded the Man of the Match. CSK also went on to win that edition of the lucrative league.
#2 MS Dhoni for RPS vs KXIP (IPL 2016)
MS Dhoni joined new franchise Rising Pune Supergiant in the 2017 edition of the IPL. Despite a disappointing campaign overall, cricket fans across the world were treated to a death-overs batting clinic by MS Dhoni, who finished on 64 off 32 balls against the Kings XI Punjab at Vizag.
Even when KXIP captain Murali Vijay tossed the ball to Axar Patel ahead of Kyle Abbott, not many expected MS Dhoni to chase the remaining 23 runs. After only 7 runs were scored off the first 3 balls, RPS's chances further dwindled. But with 16 needed of the remaining 3 balls, MS Dhoni went 4, 6, 6 to pull off one of the greatest escape acts in IPL history.
This innings would have definitely made the No. 1 spot on the list, if not for the stage on which the following innings took place.
#1 MS Dhoni for CSK vs KXIP (IPL 2010)
After the first ball was sent to the cover boundary with surgical precision, a misfield by Piyush Chawla at long-on meant that MS Dhoni was back on strike with four balls left and 10 runs to get. The left-armer lost the plot thereafter, and bowled two length balls that the CSK skipper absolutely massacred over long-on to carry his team into the semi-finals for the third consecutive time.
After hitting the winning six, MS Dhoni punched himself in the face in a rare show of unbridled emotion as Morkel clung on to him from behind. His teammates rushed onto the field as KXIP co-owner Preity Zinta slumped disconsolately in her hospitality box.
This remains one of the most iconic IPL moments of all time.