MS Dhoni birthday: 5 memorable knocks of India's best match-finisher

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New Delhi, July 7: As Team India's limited-overs skipper MS Dhoni is celebrating his 35th birthday today (July 7) nostalgia has gripped the fans as well as fraternity. Everyone is discussing about the illustrious career Captain Cool has had and the milestones he has achieved.

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MS Dhoni's rise in World Cricket is phenomenal and his achievements both individual as well as his Team's put the Ranchi-lad in the league of all time greats.

MS Dhoni birthday: 5 memorable knocks by India's best finisher

Here are a few memorable innings from one of India's most adored sportsperson:

91* vs Sri Lanka in 2011 World Cup final: Historic moment for a cricket-crazy nation

Who can forget that winning SIX off MS Dhoni's bat in the World Cup 2011 final at Wankhede Stadium? The skipper walked into the middle when the chips were down and the home side were staring at yet another World Cup final loss that too in front of 60000-plus crowd.

India were 3 down at 114 when the skipper promoted himself up in the order in place of in-form Yuvraj Singh to chase a challenging total of 275. But as they say, it was Dhoni's day, the skipper steadied the Indian innings and remained unbeaten at 91 as India scripted history by becoming the third team to have won a the ICC WC twice.

183* vs Sri Lanka: Rise of a star

If 148 against Pakistan cemented his position as a big-hitting wicket-keeper batsman, his unbeaten 183-runs against Sri Lanka during 3rd ODI at Jaipur in Oct, 2005 confirmed the fact that MS Dhoni is going to stay in the international cricket for long and India's woes of a wicket-keeper/batsman are over.

183* vs Sri Lanka: Rise of a star

His tendency to score runs on any down and quality to adjust his game according to the situation proved the amount of mental strength and talent this unorthodox batter possessed. India were chasing a challenging target of 299. This was Dhoni's second big ton in his first year of cricket.

124 vs Australia: Captain's valiant effort

What makes this innings special is the fact that Dhoni slammed this ton when India were reeling under pressure. India were struggling at 97/3 in the 16th over when the skipper promoted himself to join Gautam Gambhir.

The skipper batted till the 50th over when 3 deliveries were left. With 97/3 in 15.1 overs India went on putting 354/7 in 50 overs. Such was the impact of MS Dhoni's presence in the middle. Aussie bowlers were looking dangerous no more and India managed to beat Australia in the 2nd ODI at Nagpur by 99 runs in Oct, 2009.

Captain's valiant effort

Celkon Mobile Cup final: Mr Finisher finishes off in style, again

MS Dhoni was coming out of an injury in the final match of the Tri-nation series in July 2013. India were facing World Cup 2011 finalists Sri Lanka and needed 202 runs to lift the cup. India struggled in the run chase in a low-scoring game but MS Dhoni's presence assured Men In Blue remained in the game. Dhoni scored just 45 off 52 balls but what made this match special was the way Captain Cool kept his nerves till the very end.

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India needed 15 runs to win in the final over with just one wicket in hand. After ensuring he remains on strike in the final over MS Dhoni finished off things in his own trademark style. Dhoni first hit a SIX, followed by a FOUR and then finished the innings with another SIX off Shamida Eranga's last over and took India home with 3 balls remaining. It was MS Dhoni's self-belief in his abilities and cricketing mind that won India this game.

224 vs Australia: Highest score by an Indian skipper

MS Dhoni slammed his first and only double ton in Test, at Chepauk on February 24, 2013, but it was will be remembered for long. Skipper Dhoni came in to bat after India lost 4 wickets in their first innings and Sachin Tendulkar was the last man to be dismissed at 81. But Captain Cool other plans. He first stitched a 128-run-partnership with a young Virat Kohli and later partnered with tailender Bhuvneshwar Kumar for the 9th wicket. Dhoni-Kumar partnership lasted 31.1 overs and amassed record 140 runs. 

With his 224, Dhoni broke Sachin Tendulkar's record of highest individual runs by an Indian captain against any side in Tests. HE went past Tendulkar's 217 scored against New Zealand in 1999-2000 at Ahmedabad.

Dhoni's 224 vs Australia is highest score by an Indian skipper

MS Dhoni played some glorious shots all round the park, which happened to be the home ground of his IPL side Chennai Super Kings, and played every Australian bowler with ease. He looked particularly dangerous against spinner Nathan Lyon, who was looking dangerous after sending Tendulkar back to the pavilion and had troubled almost every Indian batsman till then. Dhoni aggregated 104 runs of 85 deliveries he faced from Lyon.

The captain's gritty innings of 224 against Australia helped the hosts put 572/10 in response to Australia's 380/10 in first innings. Trailing by 192 runs in the first innings, Australians were bundled out at 241 in the second innings, thereby setting a target of 49 runs for the hosts to win the first Test. 

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