MS Dhoni is probably the smartest white-ball captain India has ever seen and that is the reason why the Indian team has done so well in crucial matches under his captaincy. He hardly ever loses his patience under pressure and makes sure he is at his tactical best when the whips are cracking.
Here are the 4 instances where MS Dhoni proved he is the smartest cricketer ever –
#1 ODI World Cup semi-final against Pakistan 2011
India had put Pakistan under pressure with a couple of wickets in the middle overs, but Umar Akmal came out and counter-attacked. He hit a couple of sixes and suddenly the momentum was starting to shift towards Pakistan.
It was very evident that Akmal was in a mood to continue attacking and India desperately needed his wicket. Dhoni threw the ball to Harbhajan Singh and asked him to bowl round the wicket. Dhoni wanted Harbhajan to take the ball away from Akmal with the round the wicket angle, rather than spinning the ball back into him from over the wicket.
Harbhajan bowled a straight delivery which went away from Akmal with the angle and he completely missed while trying to play it through the leg side. The ball hit the top of off stump and India was back on the driving seat.
#2 Champions Trophy Final 2013
It was again a pressure situation for India as Eoin Morgan and Ravi Bopara were taking the game away and were getting England closer and closer to winning the trophy. Dhoni got Ishant Sharma back into the attack and asked him to bowl wide outside the off-stump to Morgan.
Ishant bowled a couple of wide deliveries, but Dhoni still didn’t change the plan as he knew it was difficult for Morgan to fetch the ball from outside the off-stump. On the third delivery, Ishant bowled the same line again, but he took the pace off.
Morgan was sucked into a false stroke and the floodgate opened as England crumbled under pressure to lose the game.
#3 Bowl out against Pakistan in T20 World Cup 2007
When one of the group games between India and Pakistan got tied and for the first time ever, bowl out was to be used as a tie-breaker, Dhoni nominated a couple of part-timers to bowl in the bowl out.
Normally you would expect a captain to nominate his best bowlers for a bowl out event, but Dhoni went with two part-timers because he was convinced about their ability to hit the stumps.
As it turned out, the two nominated part-timers Robin Uthappa and Virender Sehwag indeed hit the stumps and India won the bowl out.
#4 IPL 2010 final
In the final of IPL 2010, Dhoni put a fielder almost right behind the umpire for Kieron Pollard as he was of the view that Pollard would almost always hit the ball dead straight and not quite towards the mid-off and he would hit it so powerfully that the mid-off fielder wouldn’t even have the time to come around.
So, he put the fielder straight and everyone was surprised because never had a captain put a fielder in that particular position in the past. But, Pollard eventually offered a catch to that fielder in the very same over and CSK went on to win their first-ever IPL title by beating the Mumbai Indians.