MS Dhoni was not just one of the greatest captains ever in international cricket, he has been equally good in IPL as well in terms of pulling off some of the closest of games and winning trophies by captaincy masterstrokes.
Dhoni always had this unconventional way of thinking as a captain. He would often do something that would take the opposition and the pundits aback because he never thought about the game in a conventional manner.
Here are the 4 master-strokes Dhoni pulled off in the IPL as a captain –
#1 Straight mid off for Kieron Pollard
No captain ever had placed a fielder right behind the umpire in the past, but Dhoni did it in the final of IPL 2010 against Kieron Pollard. And even though it was a weird field placement, Dhoni had a logical reasoning behind it.
The CSK captain was of the view that whenever Pollard would play straight, he would never hit it to conventional mid-off. Nine out of ten times, he would hit it straight past the bowler and hence, a straight mid-off was needed, not a conventional mid-off.
Pollard was eventually caught by that straight mid-off fielder in that game.
#2 Ravichandran Ashwin to Chris Gayle
Chris Gayle was smacking everyone left, right and centre in IPL 2011 and with him in that kind of form, Dhoni took the massive risk of bowling an off spinner to him in the powerplay in the IPL 2011 final.
Dhoni was absolutely sure that Gayle would try and go after the off spinner Ashwin and might even connect a few, but because of the fact that Ashwin would be taking the ball away from him, it’s very much possible that Gayle might edge one as well.
As it turned, Gayle indeed edged one to Dhoni off Ashwin’s bowling and RCB never recovered from that blow as CSK won their second IPL title.
#3 Promoting Deepak Chahar and Harbhajan Singh in batting
In one of the games of IPL 2018, Dhoni promoted Harbhajan Singh and Deepak Chahar ahead of himself in the batting order as CSK was trying to chase a stiff total against Kings XI Punjab. Later, Dhoni said that he did it only to create a bit of chaos in the Punjab camp and to disturb their bowling plans.
Dhoni came down the order and finish that game himself with ease, but the runs that Chahar and Harbhajan scored before him helped CSK a great deal.
#4 Opening the batting with Rayudu
When Rayudu was bought by CSK ahead of IPL 2018, everyone thought he would bat in the middle order as he was a natural middle order batsman and that’s where he had batted for Mumbai Indians as well earlier in the IPL.
But, MS threw a surprise and slotted Rayudu right at the top of the order to open the batting with Shane Watson. Rayudu won quite a few games for CSK as an opener in IPL 2018.