Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the long haired young sensation from a small town in Ranchi, was given the opportunity to lead India in the inaugural World T20 in South Africa. After a disastrous performance there, India wasn’t given much of a chance to compete in the World Cup.
24 September 2007
India scored 157 on a green pitch in Johannesburg, with Gautam Gambhir topping the scoreboard with 75. Pakistan lost Mohammad Hafeez and Kamran Akmal early, and several other batting stalwarts soon after.
Misbah Ul Haq was the lone warrior, who fought hard, along with small contributions from Tanvir and Arafat.
The equation came down to 13 off the last over with a wicket remaining.
With Joginder Sharma’s first ball being a wide and the next big a six, pressure built up on both sides as Pakistan needed 6 from 4.
Joginder bowls, Misbah tries the ramp. But, Sreesanth silences everyone by holding onto the catch. India win by 5 runs, and the Bullring in Johannesburg has gone absolutely berserk. The young man from Ranchi has led India to a glorious victory. India was the winner of the World Cup.
India crashes out of the WORLD T20 in the super eights after having failed to win even a single game.
2011 April 2
On 22 April 2011, India took on Sri Lanka in the ICC World Cup 2011 Final at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. Zaheer dismisses Tharanga early. After that, the Islanders took control, with the odd wicket falling. Jayawardene scores a century and some lusty blows in the end from Thissara Perera helped Sri Lanka to amass 275. India lose Sehwag and Tendulkar early. Gambhir and Kohli began to boost up the run rate.
When his turn comes, Dhoni walks towards to the centre of the stadium, with the responsibility to help India secure the trophy. They begin to rebuild, and then accelerate before Gambhir, who is 3 short of a century plays a loose shot and loses his timber at 97.
By the time Yuvraj Singh comes in, India is just a few runs away from victory and counting down;
Kulasekara yells in excitement, “And Dhoni finishes off in style, a magnificent strike into the
crowd, India lift the World Cup after 28 years. The party has started in the dressing
room, and it’s the Indian captain who has been absolutely magnificent, in the night of the final.”
India thus became the first cricket team to lift the 60 over world cup, the T20 world cup and the 50 over world cup.
India was all set for a long tour of England, with hopes of putting up a fight. But what it turned out to be was a complete disaster. Injuries all over the place, bowling and batting in shambles, as India was blanked out in the test, ODI and T20 series without anything in return. Dhoni’s captaincy techniques came under scrutiny. It was horrendous, particularly in the test series as we capitulated following a spectacular performance by England.
India had a chance to take instant revenge when England toured India for a 5 match ODI series and a
one-off T2,0 and they succeeded in doing so. England was trounced 5-0 and Mahendra Singh Dhoni was
named man of the series.
India went to Australia, with some confidence, thinking they could put up a good show. They faced defeat yet again and Dhoni’s captaincy began to be questioned. Many people turned against him, but the board still backed him as he was the right man for the job.
2012 got worse when India didn’t qualify for the Asia Cup final, when they lost to Bangladesh in the second match, and even a win against Pakistan couldn’t take India to the final.
India and England contested a 4 match test series, 5 match ODI series in late 2012 and early 2013.
India had a chance to take revenge at 4-0, but lost again. The ‘Dhoni Out’ chant began to increase in volume among the common people and it was terrible. Although the team won the ODI series at 3-2, the pressure on Dhoni was mounting.
India crashed out of the World T20 in the super eights after a heavy loss to Australia. Even after defeating Pakistan and South Africa, India couldn’t qualify for the finals.
Pakistan was finally given the green signal to tour India for a 3 match ODI series. But yet again, our boys failed and we lost the series 2-1. But this time, Dhoni came under less questioning as he was the only performer whose performance stood out among all the Indian Batsmen who failed against Junaid Khan, Mohammad Irfan and Umar Gul.
Australia visited India for a 4 match test series and got decimated. All players put up good performances - Dhawan debuted with 187, and the captain scored 224 in the first test in Madras. And revenge was theirs.
India went into the Champions Trophy in England with a set of youngsters, with some confidence. It turned out perfectly as India went through the whole tournament unbeaten, and Dhoni became the first captain to lift all ICC trophies as captain. Dhawan won the Golden Bat and Ravindra Jadeja won the Golden Ball, as India soared through with convincing performances.
India then headed to West Indies to play the triangular series with West Indies and Sri Lanka. Dhoni was injured during the first game when India lost, and chances were looking bleak. But India somehow qualified for the finals and Dhoni came back. With 15 required off the last over, Dhoni finished the game in his signature manner and won the triangular series.
India thus finished 2014 World T20 as runners up to Sri Lanka.
India won at Lords, for the first time since 1986, but service resumed as were again thrashed 3-1, but came back to win the odi series 3-1, a first win of an ODI series at England since 2002.
2015 ICC WORLD CUP
India went in with very low expectations as we hadn’t won a single game in Australia in the past 2 months. But the boys they came out all guns blazing, and went to the semifinals unbeaten in the tournament, beating our arch rivals Pakistan and South Africa quite easily.
A semifinal against Australia was quite the contest. Yet again, India was outplayed by Australians leading to a disastrous defeat. 2016 was a year of T20 international successes for Dhoni, as we won 3-0 in Australia, 2-1 at home vs Sri Lanka, the 2016 Asia Cup.
When the World T20 came, India was given a huge shock in the first game as New Zealand spun us out of the game on a raging turner in Nagpur. The next game was against Pakistan at Kolkata, where they enjoyed their most success. But, India managed to beat Pakistan extending India’s streak against Pakistan to 11-0.
Bangladesh lost to India by 1 run in a thriller at Bangalore, with Dhoni stealing a last ball win with a terrific runout, as we somehow scrapped through to the semifinal stage, where West Indies out-batted us in a run fest in Mumbai.
4 January 2017
Dhoni shocks the whole world by announcing his retirement from captaincy in ODIs and T20s, but will continue to be available for selection as a player.
To the greatest test captain for India, Greatest ODI captain for India, thank you for making a million memories of great captaincy, Mahendra Singh Dhoni! Your fans would be elated if you return as the captain of Chennai Super Kings at IPL 2018.