No-one can let a run-chase get away from him quite like MS Dhoni

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2019 Cricket World Cup semi-final, India v New Zealand

Remember that time MS Dhoni stalked England and never actually pounced? Remember that time he stood around and watched his batting partners beat Australia without ever quite feeling moved to step in and do something?

No-one does passivity like MS Dhoni. No-one can let a run-chase get away from him quite like MS Dhoni.

Dhoni’s cool. That’s his brand. He doesn’t panic when the run-rate rises. he doesn’t even bat an eyelid. Thing is, sometimes you have to react. Sometimes the batting of eyelids is advisable.

If you see a suicidal insect make for your eyeball, you blink. That’s what you’re supposed to do. That’s the correct response to the stimulus. What you do not do is stand there, eyes agape, heart-rate low, and let the thing embrace your cornea.

Dhoni disagrees. As the flies swarm, Dhoni keeps his eyelids open. He asks Ravindra Jadeja to try and bat the flies away for him.

Jadeja does a cracking job, but there’s a hell of a lot of flies and eventually he’s swamped and has to leave the field of play.

At this point – or at least shortly afterwards – Dhoni looks around and goes, “Say, there are quite a few flies around at the minute. Maybe I should… do something.”

Somewhat inadvisedly, the “something” that Dhoni resolved to do in the World Cup semi-final was ‘take a second run to Martin Guptill’.

A top bit of cobbing from Guptill zang the bails and Dhoni departed, dragging the tattered rags of India’s chances behind him.

Turns out Kane Williamson’s 95-ball 67 was a pretty decent knock after all.


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  1. Amazing match. Wonder how many people had a flutter on the Kiwis to make the final?

    Your basic point is sound enough – MSD left it very late and had to take risks he might have been able to avoid. But a bit harsh, nonetheless..? – he was only out by a couple of inches and it took a direct hit to do it; it’s not as if the run was never on to begin with. Still, you’re probably onto something – he does seem to take the coolness thing too far these days. Will be interesting to see how he gets remembered (… as the best-ever finisher, or as someone who left his retirement a little too late)

    1. 50 off 72 balls versus Jadeja’s 77 off 59 balls and India were left needing 31 off the last two overs.

      It’s not harsh.

      1. Agree. It’s almost as if he does this ‘taking it deep’ thing on purpose. Like his ambition is to hit the winning runs off the final ball.

        He reminds me of a mate who used to play Doom on Ultra Violent with 1% health, and refused to pick up medikits.

      2. Yeah, but like I say, I’m not disagreeing with the basic point. Where it seems harsh is in making it sound as if chancing a second run on Guptill’s arm was inherently ridiculous – risky for sure, and probably forced, but he very nearly made it.

        I didn’t get the proper real-time experience of this match, as I had to go out before it had finished – India were already up against it at that point, but the match was still in the balance. I then walked back in the door literally as the match was ending. So I had to rewind the broadcast a bit to see what had happened, and at six down with 35 needed off 17, that still “looked” highly possible – even perfectly set up for someone like Dhoni, in his prime. In the event it was clearly too much to manage against that attack. Mmm

  2. He should never have come in that late. 50 off 72 would’ve been perfect coming in at 4 or 5, and stabilising things around him.

      1. Retiring, coming in to bat, pouncing on his prey…

        What was MS Dhoni thinking, leaving all of the above so late?

  3. That’s a bit harsh imo. Jadeja was playing a different game to everyone else, and he let him get on with it. And (I know its pure speculation now) if he’d made his ground, India would have won the game.

    They showed a statistic in the previous over where they looked at Dhoni remaining not out in a chase. 49 wins, 2 losses, 1 tie (or something very similar to that). By any measure, those numbers are insane.

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