When one talks about MS Dhoni as a finisher, often the most pleasing adjectives and superlatives are used to describe him. In so many ways, has Dhoni revolutionized the art of finishing a game, as his uber cool and composed approach have stood out. However, when one talks about Dhoni’s brilliance in T20I cricket, this very same aspect can be put under the scanner.
There have been numerous instances, where Dhoni has failed to finish off games for India in T20I chases. But the most agonizing aspect about the Jharkhand lad has been that he hasn’t been able to successfully finish games in comparatively easier circumstances. The loss to West Indies in the first T20I at Florida was yet another ironic instance as Dhoni failed to seal off the game for India. With just 8 needed off the last over, it should have been India’s game, but Dhoni was caught on the edge of the circle off the very last delivery, leading to India’s loss by 1 run.
As unfortunate as it may sound, this hasn’t been the first instance when Dhoni has botched up a T20I run chase. A recent instance of that was against Zimbabwe a few months ago in Harare, when Dhoni once again messed up a run chase. With 4 needed off the last delivery, Dhoni tried to cut a widish delivery, only to be restricted for a single. Even though India won the series later on, the loss was an embarrassing episode remembered for quite a while.
Another instance when Dhoni couldn’t get India past the line was in a T20I game against England at Birmingham in September 2014. The most noticeable aspect back then was that Dhoni refused to give strike to Ambati Rayudu, a more than capable batsman and with a boundary needed off the last ball, failed to clear the fence. That episode too was critical in denting Dhoni’s credentials as a chaser in this particular format.
Looking back at August 2012, one can have memories about Yuvraj Singh’s comeback match against New Zealand. India were comfortably placed in the chase and the remaining runs were just a mere formality. But Dhoni chose to drag the match till the very end, and courtesy of some exceptional death bowling by New Zealand, India lost the game by an agonizing margin of just 1 run.
So the reason still remains unknown why Dhoni hasn’t been able to replicate his ODI success in T20I’s? As a skipper, he has been simply phenomenal in the shortest format, but while talking about his finishing skills, he has been quite ordinary. Had he played to his potential as an ODI finisher, India would have won all the above mentioned games.