Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Is 'Finisher' MS Dhoni Losing His Finishing Touch?


India's 1-run loss in the 1st T20 International match against West Indies at Central Broward Regional Park Stadium Turf Ground, would be etched into the memories of skipperMahendra Singh Dhoni for long.

One doesn't generally sees the 'finisher MS Dhoni' fail to do what he's been doing for the side for the past decade.   

Having earned the tag of world's best match finisher in the last few years, it was expected of Dhoni to finish the game in India's favour and create a record for highest successful run chase for the side in the shortest format of the game.
As we have seen Dhoni on several occasions, finishing things in tight situations, fans were confident that the skipper will pull off this one too.

But things didn't go as per fans' expectations for Captain Cool failed to execute his plan against Dwayne Bravo's plan, eventually India ended up losing in the historic run chase by a narrow margin of 1-run. 

Bravo, who is not only one of the best death over bowlers in this format but has also watched Dhoni closely during his days in Chennai Super Kings in the IPL, got better off the two and tricked latter with a slower one. Dhoni couldn't connect the ball which landed into the hands of Marlon Samuels, who dropped his catch on the first ball of the last over. 

Dhoni, perhaps, paid the price of thinking too much and lost his wicket and eventually the match. A calm and composed Dhoni, during the post match presentation admitted that the plan was right and the execution wrong.
But, what one witnessed against West Indies reminded everyone of the humiliating loss in the 1st T20I against Zimbabwe, earlier this year. India needed eight runs to win in the last over with MS Dhoni on strike.

Back then, a young Neville Madziva managed to keep Dhoni silent as visitors could only manage to get 5 runs off the last over and lost the match by 2 runs. Here too Dhoni was one to face the last ball but 4 runs were needed off the last ball in this one.

Two matches and a couple of months later, finisher Dhoni was faced with a similar situation against West Indies but result was the same - India lose the match but by a narrow margin of 1-run.

Go back to Oct 11, 2015, when India lost first ODI match against South Africa at Kanpur by 5 runs. An experienced MSD failed to score 11 runs in the match, he even succumbed under pressure and lost his wicket in the final over from young Kagiso Rabada. 

This, perhaps, hints that the finisher Dhoni that he once used to be is no more or perhaps too much of thinking during tight situations like these are taking a toll over Dhoni.

Who might have forgotten Rising Pune Supergiants' last league match in IPL 9? Dhoni amassed 23 runs off the last over to ensure a consolation win for his side, which could not make it to the play-offs.

This makes one thing very clear, Dhoni in this case played with a clear mindset, for there was nothing for him to lose. His team was already out of the contention for the trophy, so win or loss hardly mattered.

While in the game against West Indies, Captain Cool tried too much or perhaps a lot was going through his mind which prevented Dhoni from playing with clear intent. The skipper's failure to finish tight matches like these cements the fact that Dhoni is losing his finishing touch.

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