Mahendra Singh Dhoni has always been a totemic figure of brilliance in whatever team that he has been a part of. It feels that his name and the shorter versions of cricket has been intertwined for ages and a day without him on the 22 yards will not just be a normal day.
On 15th of August, when the former Indian skipper bade adieu to the international colours, the nation dropped a tear or two for their favourite leader. Their hopes of seeing the burly striker of the ball for one last time ebbed away to dust. On a very candid note, many are still to come to grips with it.
However, there has been a silver lining for everyone who patiently waited for Dhoni to take the field again and the silver lining is everything but small. It is the Indian domestic cricketing extravaganza as Mahendra Singh Dhoni will take the field again as a captain for the Chennai Super Kings n the imminent edition of Indian Premier League 2020.
Raving about this cash-rich cricketing fiesta, Dhoni has been a beacon of leading excellence for the Yellow army. To celebrate the man and his legend, we will pen down five rare facts about Mahi’s IPL journey which very few of you were previously aware of.
- Batting as high as number three in 7 innings
Dhoni’s heroics has always centred around coming down lower in the order and steadying a destabilized ship or going for the kill switch right since his inception when the conditions were favourable.
However, the former Indian skipper has batted at the number three position for an astonishing four times in IPL but all of them came before 2011.
Out of the total 170 innings, those 7 innings from Dhoni constitute 4 per cent of his total knocks which saw him garnering 188 runs at a steady average of 37.6 and at a breezy strike rate of 125.33 that also saw him registering a half-century. However, Dhoni’s overall numbers lower the down is far better vis-à-vis his advancement as his average reads 42.2 while his strike rate improves by leaps and bounds, ranging at a stormy 137.85.
Dhoni batted thrice in the number three position in 2008 which saw him scoring 43*, 33 and 4. Batting in the early position he also scored a 37-ball-58 in a league game of 2009 while in the semis of the same edition, he managed 28 off 30 balls against Royal Challengers Bangalore.
He scored a duck in 2011 home game against Delhi Daredevils while smashed a quickfire 22 off just 13 balls in the same edition’s final that saw them lifting the trophy for the second time. That was the last time he came out so early to bat.
- He was not the wicketkeeper in the 2008 and 2009 IPL knockout stages
In every single international game that Dhoni played, he always entered the game as a wicketkeeper, despite later taking off his gloves to pull off an over or two. However, for CSK, he did go in a few matches as a specialized batsman, after injuring his finger that compelled MS to hand over his keeping gloves to Parthiv Patel.
He did not play as the wicketkeeper in a total of 8 matches in those 2 seasons that included the 2008 semi-finals and finals while only the semi-finals in 2009. After playing 11 matches as a keeper, Dhoni handed over the gloves to Patel, who kept the stumps for 3 league games and two knock-out games.
The 2009 semi-final was the last game where Dhoni played as specialized batsman and skipper. However, it was wicket-keeping that brought out the best in Dhoni as his average in those eight matches dipped to an ailing 24.67 which saw him chronicling 148 runs from 7 innings.
- No stumpings in the first edition of Indian Premier League
Dhoni’s impressive wicket-keeping records have seen him affecting 195 stumpings in international cricket that are at least 50 more than the nearest contender. He stands as the only keeper with 100 plus ODI stumpings while his 34 T20 stumpings are the highest in the men’s format. He is in the third spot in Test cricket with 38 stumpings, however, it took him a good deal of time to register his first in IPL.
He didn’t have a single stumping in his kitty until he scored his first in the second season of IPL as it came in the second game against Royal Challengers Bangalore. His first stumping victim was Robin Uthappa who was caught short of his crease in the bowling of Muralitharan.
It was also the first stumping affected by Chennai Super Kings in the history of the fray until then. The frequency of stumpings in IPL increased dramatically as the class of the spin bowlers in the side went up. Much to the incredulity of everyone Dhoni missed a stumping in the very first match of Chennai Super Kings in the bowling of Muttiah Muralitharan.
- Dhoni was never involved in a tied match in IPL
Being second in the list of playing the highest number of matches with 190, right after Raina’s 193, Dhoni is surprisingly still to be a part of a tied game in the league’s history. Another fact that makes this a contrasting record in Dhoni’s kitty is that in the international, he has been a part of seven-tied games which is the joint highest by any Indian.
Dhoni has been a part of 190 games, out of 160 were for Chennai while 30 were for Pune when CSK was suspended for a couple of editions. Rising Pune Supergiants was never a part of any tie but Chennai had a tie once where Dhoni sat out with an injury while Raina captained the squad.
Chennai restricted Punjab to 136, Chennai was well-set in a chartered course for victory until Raina’s dismissal threw a spanner in their plans. The Yellow Army barely scraped it to the desired mark, forcing a super over where Punjab chased down Chennai’s total in 4 balls.
- Most fifties at 200 plus strike rate amongst Indians
Dhoni becomes the most intimidating incarnation of himself in Indian Premier League as his numbers skyrocket to a strike rate of 140 from a languishing 126.13 in the national colours.
Mahi has smashed 23 half centuries out of which 8 came at a strike rate of 200 plus, the highest by any Indian, where none other could even cross 6 half-centuries at that soaring strike rate.
Yusuf Pathan is the next in the line with six half-centuries at a strike rate of more than 200 while Sehwag and Pant are next in the line with 5. Dhoni is also one of the four players to have 8 plus half-centuries at a strike rate of 200 plus in the fray.
ABD aces the list with 9 such half-centuries while Gayle and Warner have chronicled 8 of those blistering knocks. Royal Challengers Bangalore, Kings XI Punjab and Delhi have been at the receiving end of Dhoni’s pyrotechnics, as these three sides have each taken such merciless hammering twice. Seven of these knocks came for Chennai while a solitary knock came for Pune