IPL 2022: Revisiting MS Dhoni’s performances in IPL finals

Mahendra Singh Dhoni is known for pulling off surprises. He came up with another one on Thursday when he handed over the Chennai Super Kings‘ (CSK) captaincy duties to senior all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja. Under Dhoni, CSK lifted the Indian Premier League (IPL) title for the fourth time last year. However, there was growing speculation over whether he would continue as leader.

The 40-year-old ended his captaincy stint in the IPL with 121 wins and 82 losses from 204 matches. Apart from Chennai, he briefly led Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) as well when CSK were suspended from the T20 league. Dhoni is among the few players who have featured in every edition of the IPL till date.

MS Dhoni in IPL finals

The former India captain has led CSK to victory in four IPL finals. Overall, he has featured in the summit clash of the T20 league 10 times – nine with CSK and one in RPS colors. Ahead of the 2022 edition, we revisit the veteran wicketkeeper-batter’s performances in the IPL finals.

#1 2008 vs Rajasthan Royals

CSK lost the inaugural IPL final in 2008. Pic: BCCI
CSK lost the inaugural IPL final in 2008. Pic: BCCI

Coming in at No. 5, Dhoni scored an unbeaten 29 off 17 deliveries as CSK were sent into bat by the Rajasthan Royals (RR) in the IPL 2008 final at the DY Patil Stadium in Mumbai. The CSK captain struck one four and two sixes in his innings. Suresh Raina contributed 43 and Parthiv Patel (38) as Chennai put up a competitive 163 for 5 on the board.

CSK, however, ended up losing the final as Yusuf Pathan’s 56 led Rajasthan to a thrilling last-ball win. ‘MSD’ took Mohammad Kaif’s (12) catch off Muttiah Muralitharan’s bowling. However, it wasn’t enough to stop RR from winning as Sohail Tanvir and Shane Warne scampered a single off the last ball.

#2 2010 vs Mumbai Indians

Dhoni played another handy cameo in the 2010 final, this time against the Mumbai Indians (MI). Significantly, it came in a winning cause. CSK won the toss and batted first. The skipper walked in at No. 5 and punched 22 off 15 balls. He hit two fours and a six before miscuing Zaheer Khan to extra cover. Raina top-scored with an unbeaten 57 as CSK put up 168 for 5.

The captain was excellent behind the stumps and played a huge role in CSK’s win. He took the catch off Doug Bollinger’s bowling to send back Shikhar Dhawan for a duck. Dhoni also effected a direct hit to run out Abhishek Nayar (27) and was also involved in the run-outs of Ambati Rayudu (21) and Zaheer Khan (1). MI were held to 146 for 9 as CSK lifted their maiden IPL title.

#3 2011 vs Royal Challengers Bangalore

Dhoni made it a habit to play crucial cameos in the IPL finals. In the 2011 summit clash against the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in Chennai, CSK again won the toss and batted first. This time, the captain promoted himself to No. 3 and scored a quickfire 22 off 13 deliveries with the aid of two sixes. Dhoni’s move was prompted by the 159-run opening stand between Murali Vijay (95) and Michael Hussey (63). Thanks to their heroics, CSK finished on a strong 205 for 5.

The skipper made his presence felt on the field in the first over itself as he took the catch to dismiss Chris Gayle for a duck off Ravichandran Ashwin’s bowling. RCB could never recover from the big setback and managed only 147 for 8, handing CSK their second consecutive IPL title.

#4 2012 vs Kolkata Knight Riders

MSD's contributions as keeper after often ignored. Pic: BCCI
MSD’s contributions as keeper after often ignored. Pic: BCCI

For a change, Dhoni failed to make an impact in an IPL final as the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) defeated CSK by five wickets in Chennai during the 2012 edition. CSK again batted first and their captain, coming in at No. 4, scored an unbeaten 14 from nine balls with the help of two fours. As Raina (73) and Hussey (54) played impressive knocks, the skipper did not get to face too many balls.

During KKR’s chase, the CSK captain did not find his name on the scoreboard as he was not involved in any of the dismissals. Manvinder Bisla (89) and Jacques Kallis (69) guided KKR to their first IPL triumph.

#5 2013 vs Mumbai Indians

CSK made it to the IPL final in 2013 as well, this time going down to MI by 23 runs in Kolkata. Mumbai batted first after winning the toss and put up 148 for 9. Dhoni contributed behind the wickets by taking the catches of Mitchell Johnson (1) and Lasith Malinga (0) in the last over off Dwayne Bravo’s bowling. Kieron Pollard top-scored for MI with an unbeaten 60.

Dhoni played a brilliant knock with the bat, but found no support from the others as Chennai succumbed to defeat. The CSK skipper came in at No. 7 and struck an unbeaten 63 off 45 balls, slamming three fours and five sixes. Chennai, however, had crumbled to 36 for 5 by the time their captain walked out and fell way short in the end, finishing on 125 for 9.

#6 2015 vs Mumbai Indians

MI again hammered CSK by 41 runs in the 2015 final in Kolkata as Dhoni failed to leave his imprint on the game. The Chennai captain sent Mumbai into bat after winning the toss. He did not feature in any of the dismissals as MI posted 202 for 5. Lendl Simmons scored 68 and Rohit Sharma 50 off 26.

CSK would have been hoping for a big one from their leader, but it wasn’t to be. Coming into bat at No. 4, Dhoni perished for 18 off 13 balls, cleaned up by a slower-ball yorker from Malinga. Dwayne Smith scored 57 but CSK could only manage 161 for 8 in their 20 overs.

#7 2017 (Rising Pune Supergiant) vs Mumbai Indians

This is the only IPL final Dhoni has featured in as a player and not the captain. Steve Smith led RPS in the 2017 final. ‘MSD’ did not have a memorable match. MI batted first in the final and were restricted to 129 for 8 even though keeper Dhoni did not have a role to play in any of the dismissals.

He failed with the bat as well. Coming in at No. 4, the right-hander fell for an unconvincing 10 off 13, caught behind off Bumrah. RPS skipper Smith held the innings together with a well-made 51, but Mumbai hung on for a nerve-wracking one-run win.

#8 2018 vs Sunrisers Hyderabad

CSK have won four IPL titles under captain cool. Pic: BCCI
CSK have won four IPL titles under captain cool. Pic: BCCI

Following the end of CSK’s two-year suspension from the IPL, Dhoni returned to lead the franchise to victory in the 2018 edition. Chennai thumped Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) by eight wickets in Mumbai. CSK sent SRH into bat and Dhoni made an immediate impact behind the stumps, collecting the throw to run-out Shreevats Goswami (5) in the second over.

Later in the innings, the keeper stumped SRH skipper Kane Williamson (47) off Karn Sharma’s bowling at a crucial stage. SRH recovered to put up a competitive 178 for 6. Chennai went on to clinch the final without needing their captain’s contribution with the bat as Shane Watson slammed an unbeaten 117 off 57.

#9 2019 vs Mumbai Indians

The 2019 IPL final was a massive heartbreak for Dhoni and Co. as they suffered a one-run defeat to arch-rivals Mumbai in Hyderabad. MI batted first after winning the toss and eased their way to 45 in the fifth over. The CSK captain, however, came to the fore as MI slipped to 45 for 2. Dhoni took the catches to dismiss Quinton de Kock (29) and Rohit (15) in consecutive overs. Courtesy Pollard’s unbeaten 41, MI recovered to reach 149 for 8.

In the chase, Dhoni was run-out for just two in what was a big moment in the final. The CSK skipper tried to steal a second off an overthrow. However, a direct hit from Ishan Kishan at mid-off caught the batter short at the bowler’s end. The dismissal left CSK in trouble at 82 for 4. It all came down to the last ball when Malinga famously trapped Shardul Thakur (2) lbw with a change of pace.

#10 2021 vs Kolkata Knight Riders

A decade after they met in the IPL final, KKR and CSK were at loggerheads again in 2021’s summit clash in Dubai. Kolkata bowled first after winning the toss, and Chennai put up an imposing 192 for 3 as Faf du Plessis slammed 86 off 59. Dhoni did not need to bat.

His name did not feature on the scoreboard during KKR’s chase as well as he was not involved in any of the dismissals. But the veteran keepr’s imprint was still felt in the final as CSK maintained their calm after Kolkata’s openers added 91 for the first wicket. Chennai recovered to post a 27-run win.

While the captain did not contribute much in the final, it was his six-ball 18* in the qualifier against Delhi Capitals (DC) that lifted CSK into the finale.

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