If you want your team to enter the final of a T20 event, sign on Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Captain or not, he will lead the team into the final; if his individual records were any indication, he is indeed the ‘final’ man.
Dhoni has figured in eight finals since the inaugural IPL in 2008, including two CL T20 events. Dhoni will figure in another final in 2017 though in new colors. He starred in the Qualifier 1 as Rising Pune Supergiants beat Mumbai Indians easily to storm into the final. Yes, of course this team is led by Aussie Steven Smith.
Yes, Dhoni has figured in many finals with the Indian team as well. But we restrict ourselves to the T20 events which were inter-linked – the IPL and CL. The latter tournament was abandoned as not being of much utility to the coffers of the organizers.
In any case, Dhoni will indeed go down in history as the man to go to when he takes the field on May 21, 2017 at Hyderabad.
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He slammed a superb 30 to star in his team’s entry into the final. Dhoni has also made a gritty half century in the 2015 final against Mumbai Indians which they lost. He is in great form and will look to notch up his first IPL ton at Hyderabad should he have to come in early or is sent up the order.
It all started with the Chennai Super Kings in 2008. They faced the Rajasthan Royals in the final of the IPL at Mumbai. Batting first, the Super Kings scored 163 for 5 in 20 overs and lost the game by 3 wickets off the final delivery of the match. It was heart breaking for them.
Eliminated in the semi-finals in 2009, CSK made the final for four years in a row thereafter.
They played their first CLT20 final in Johannesburg and beat Chevrolet Warriors by 8 wickets and became the first team from India to win the title.
In the 2011 final, they faced Royal Challengers Bangalore and won by 58 runs for their second triumph and Dhoni was the first captain to lift the trophy back to back.
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The year 2012 saw Chennai Super Kings lose to Kolkata Knight Riders by 5 wickets at the end of a thriller which was decided with just two balls to spare.
Some of Dhoni’s CSK teammates like Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Brandon McCullum shared the spotlight with him. But after CSK were banned for two years, as also Rajasthan Royals, following the match-fixing and betting scandal, Pune and Gujarat Lions were given temporary entry.
Dhoni will hope to win the final at Hyderabad but Rising Pune Supergiants will go down in history as the team which can never be beaten in a final again as the BCCI has said that the franchisee will have to close shop next year as they were allowed to fill in along with Gujarat Lions only for two years.
Dhoni will be around though for some more time.
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