M Dhonii said last year he was not finished yet, even though there were a lot of speculations and doubts over his future. The legendary India and Chennai player has not only turned up in the yellow colour to play for one of the most successful teams in the Indian T20 cricket League, but also showcased time and again that he has still a lot more fuel left to go — something that was witnessed on Thursday night at the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai.
The statistical data shows that Dhonii has always dominated his bilateral affair with domestic great and Saurashtra captain Jaydev Unadkat in the world's biggest T20 Cricket League held every year in India.
On Thursday night, there was yet another chapter added to the story of Dhonii honi versus Jaydev Unadkat has the legendary wicket-keeper batsmen hammered the left-arm pacer to score 16 runs from the final over of the contact between Chennai and Mumbai to power his side to only their second win in the tournament.
The defeat at the hands of Chennai was a new low for the five-time title winners Mumbai, who have now lost a mind-boggling 7 matches on the trot this year and have already been knocked out from the contention for a spot in the play-offs for the Indian T20 Cricket League 2022.
After Mumbai after and puffed to make 155/7 recovering several times from their batting collapses, Chennai finished at 156/7 thanks to M Dhonii’s 28 not out from just 13 balls, spangled with 3 boundaries and a six.
The man of the match, however, was the Chennai left-arm fast bowler Mukesh Choudhary who returned with impressive numbers of 3-0-19-3 to set the tone early in the favour of his side from where they dominated the contest.
Mumbai were off to a horrible start when they were left reeling at 23/3 having lost R Sharma for a second-ball duck, Ishan Kishan for a first-ball duck and the young and talented South Africa batsman Dewald Brevis for 4 from only 7 balls.
Suryakumar Yadav led the recovery act for Mumbai, scoring 32 from 21 balls but Mitchell Santner had him caught down the leg side when he was attempting to clear the boundary, got by Mukesh Choudhary.
The young Tilak Varma deserved all praise on Thursday night for using all his experience and talent to stitch together important partnerships and take Mumbai past the 150-run mark.
The left-handed batsman remained unbeaten on 51 from 43 balls, hitting only 3 boundaries and 2 sixes in the process whereas playing his first match of the season, Hrithik Shokeen was the third highest scorer for Mumbai, making 25 from as many balls with the help of 3 boundaries.
For Chennai, their experienced and senior cricketer Dwayne Bravo took a couple of wickets for his 36 runs from 4 overs whereas Mitchell Santner and Sri Lanka spinner Maheesh Theekshana took 1 wicket apiece.
In their reply, Chennai lost their opening batsmen Ruturaj Gaikwad for a first ball duck with Daniel Sams striking once again in the third over to remove Mitchell Santner for a 9-ball 11.
With their team in trouble, senior Chennai batsmen Robin Uthappa and Ambati Rayudu joined forces to add 50 runs for the third wicket from 39 balls and Chennai were powered towards their target with another 22-run stand between the right-handed Ambati Rayudu and Shivam Dube.
Robin Uthappa made 30 from 25 balls with 2 fours and as many sixes whereas Ambati Rayudu scored 40 from 35 balls with 2 fours and 3 sixes.
However, Chennai slipped in the middle overs as they lost the likes of Robin Uthappa, Shivam Dube, Ambati Rayudu and their captain Ravindra Jadeja in quick succession to be left reeling at 106/6.
M Dhonii came out swinging right from the first ball and in the company of South African all-rounder Dwaine Pretorius, the former Chennai captain powered his team to a victory.
Dwaine Pretorius played an equally important knock for Chennai, scoring 22 not out from 14 balls with a couple of boundaries and a six, providing strong company to M Dhonii in their 33-run stand for the 7th wicket.
With 16 required from the final over, Dhonii lost his partner victorious Dwaine Pretorius on the first ball and Dwayne Bravo gave him strike with a single on the second day.
Dhoni smacked the third ball of the over for a six straight down the ground and followed it up with a boundary. The penultimate ball of the last over was hit for a couple and Dhonii ‘finished it in style’ hitting boundary on the final ball when Chennai needed 4 runs to win.
Mumbai will remain in search of their maiden victory when they take on Lucknow in their next match on Sunday, April 24 whereas Chennai will be seen in action on Monday night against Punjab.