On Saturday night, close to the mid-way of the IPL 2022 opening game between CSK and KKR, it was an utter pandemonium at the Wankhede – and this despite only a quarter of the stands allowed to be filled – when MS Dhoni, the former CSK captain, drilled a full ball from Andre Russell down the ground in the last over of the innings for a single. That single brought up MS Dhoni’s half-century – his first since the 2019 IPL.
With this, the 24th half-century of his in IPL cricket, MS Dhoni created a new record – at his age as he looks to close out his IPL career likely this season. Well, this record could have only been created at this age: MS Dhoni now has become the oldest Indian cricketer to score a half-century in the IPL, at the age of 40 years and 262 days, according to renowned statistician Kausthub Gudipati.
Next in the line is another legendary Indian batsman, Rahul Dravid, who scored an IPL fifty at the age of 40years and 116days in 2013. Sachin Tendulkar, during his last IPL in 2013, struck a half-century, aged 39 years and 362 days.
Oldest Indian to score an IPL fifty:
— Kausthub Gudipati (@kaustats) March 26, 2022
Speaking about Dhoni’s knock, it was a really scratchy, sluggish start from Dhoni, who came in at the score of 61/5. He tapped out dots from Varun Chakravarthy, Andre Russell – but looked completely at sea against Sunil Narine, who has historically had a stronghold over Dhoni in the IPL. Beaten number of times, lbw appeal, stumping appeal – Dhoni couldn’t hit the middle of the bat versus Narine.
But somehow – and somehow – he survived the storm of Narine. By that time he was 15 off 25 balls with Ravindra Jadeja, the new skipper, struggling as well at the other end. And then, Dhoni did what Dhoni does: he hammered the pacers everywhere in the final death overs.
In the 17th overs, Russell was taken for three boundaries by Dhoni: cut, swivel pull, and squeezing a yorker fine of short-third. Young Shivam Mavi was erratic in the presence of the greatest ever finisher: a boundary over cover was followed by a waist-high full-toss top-edged for six over fine leg.
MS Dhoni then thumped Russell for two more fours in the last over, before taking the single that brought up his fifty. Jadeja, who had been struggling till then, also had the rub of the green from Dhoni, and walloped the last ball of the innings for a maximum as the new captain and former captain took CSK to 131 after the team looked to be struggling to make even 100.