Turning back the clock: The Dhoni way

Dhoni's mastery of chases continues to surprise every now and then.

M.S. Dhoni’s unbeaten 79 off 44 balls got CSK agonisingly close to the target before the visitors fell short by just four runs.   -  AKHILESH KUMAR

Against Kings XI Punjab this year, with the asking rate hovering around 18 in the last three overs, M.S. Dhoni showed a hint of his class, hammering 79 off 44 deliveries. He, however, failed to finish the game.

But on Wednesday night, as the required run rate galloped - once again threatening to creep away from CSK's reach - Dhoni took Chennai home with an innings of the highest pedigree. His match-winning knock of 70 was studded with seven sixes, the most he has ever hit in a single IPL innings.

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There has been an element of inconsistency in Dhoni’s form lately. That fabled finishing prowess may have been on a decline but the 36-year-old's mastery of chases continues to surprise every now and then.

Here are three instances when Dhoni defied all odds to take his team over the line in the IPL.

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1. IPL 2017: Rising Pune Supergiant (179/4) vs Sunrisers Hyderabad 176/3

Chasing 177 to win, Pune was reeling at 121/4 after 15 overs and a defeat looked imminent. But Dhoni - with Pune Supergiant then - along with Manoj Tiwary, orchestrated a heist which saw Pune win the encounter by six wickets. The wicketkeeper-batsman remained unbeaten on 61 off 56 deliveries, his five boundaries and three sixes denting Hyderabad's hopes beyond repair.

READ: IPL: Record sixes in CSK's thrilling chase!

2. IPL 2010: CSK (195/4) vs Kings XI Punjab (192/3)

Dhoni's 54 not out powered CSK in the semifinals of the IPL. He was the chief protagonist of a blitzkrieg in Dharamsala where, with 16 needed off Irfan Pathan's final over, Dhoni launched the left-arm seamer into the night sky, not once but twice in as many deliveries to seal one of CSK's most memorable run chases.

3. IPL 2012: CSK (208/5) vs Royal Challengers Bangalore (205/8)

Batting first, RCB put up 205 on the board thanks to fifties by Mayank Agarwal, Chris Gayle and Virat Kohli at the top. CSK, however, made light work of the target, romping home with five wickets to spare. While Faf Du Plessis was the Man-of-the-Match for his 71, M.S. Dhoni (41, 24b) starred with the bat to set up a brilliant chase.