New Delhi: His name is Mahendra Singh Dhoni, and he has done it so many times in the past, but fans are never tired of it. Yes, we are talking about his sixes. On Sunday, during the India-Australia ODI series opener, the 36-year-old hit impressed his fans with one magnificent six in front of a packed MA Chidambaram Stadium crowd in Chennai. (LIVE COVEARGE || SCORECARD)
Dhoni, who is regarded as possibly the greatest ever finisher in the history of the game, needed to dig deep as Indian innings witnessed an unlikely collapse thanks to some disciplined bowling from the visitors. Skipper Virat Kohli, who has been their messiah, played an uncharacteristic knock, getting dismissed for a rare duck.
But, then, India still has Dhoni.
Coming in to bat as early as the 17th over with India at 64-4, Dhoni produced a brilliant rear-guard action with sensational Hardik Pandya. The dou produced a 118-run stand for the six wicket. The former skipper then witnessed Bhuvneshwar Kumar playing a cameo in a 72-run seventh-wicket stand.
Dhoni made 79 of 88 balls with the help of four fours and a two sixes. In the process, he also became only the fourth Indian batsman to hit 100 fifties in ODI after Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly.
But the highlight of the knock will be that last over six, replete with Dhonism, if we may. Words sure become actions in such a situation. Dhoni came out and made room, before going inside out over long-off. The ball sailed into the crowd, some 30 rows back. Poor James Faulkner! Here's the video, courtesy BCCI:
Dhoni's fighting knock to help India to set a big total of 281 runs from a precarious situation. This innings will go as one of the best for Dhoni, considering the fact that he has been facing selection untertainties as India continue to prepare of the next World Cup. Many believed that Dhoni, at 36, is well past his prime.
But the wicketkeeper-batsman just proved that he's irreplaceable today. And his team-mates, including head coach Ravi Shastri bowed to the living legend.
Earlier in the day, India captain Virat Kohli won the toss and elected to bat first at MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai.
There will be four more ODIs and three T20Is in the limited-overs' leg of the Australia tour. India won the Test series early in the year.