Does MSD’s reputation as finisher demoralise the bowlers? Hogg convinced it does

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More than a week after Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s magic floored Mumbai Indians in a nerve-wracking thriller, former Australian cricketer Brad Hogg has hailed the former India and Chennai Super Kings skipper’s finishing skills, saying no target is big for the legendary wicketkeeper-batter because he believes in himself.

Dhoni’s blistering 13-ball unbeaten 28 on April 21 had helped CSK clinch a last-ball thriller against the five-time champions, scoring 16 runs off the last four deliveries to help Chennai win their second game in IPL 2022.

It was Dwaine Pretorius (22 off 14) and Dhoni (28 not out off 13) who hit important runs and kept CSK in the chase till the last over. CSK needed 17 runs in the last over and Pretorius was trapped leg-before by Jaydev Unadkat off the first ball. Dwayne Bravo came to bat next and took a single in the second ball of the over, with 16 still to get.

Unadkat erred in length while trying to go full and wide and ended up offering a ball in the slot that Dhoni hit for a straight six in the third ball. The left-arm pacer took the pace off on the next and went short but Dhoni saw that coming, camped back and pulled it to the square leg fence, taking the chase down to 6 off 2 balls.

The veteran batter took two runs in the fifth ball, bringing the equation to 4 off 1, which Dhoni polished off with a whip of the wrists on a low full toss that beat the short fine leg fielder to the fence and sealed a memorable three-wicket victory for CSK.

“MS Dhoni wants that particular moment. He wants it because he believes in himself. No target is too big. Whether it’s 15 runs an over or 30 runs an over, he still believes that he can get his team over the line. Also the reputation, he already knows that the bowler is thinking that he is good at this role at the back end and he can win from any situation,” Hogg said on his YouTube channel.

Dhoni is the only player in IPL history to have chased down 15-plus runs in the final over thrice, doing so against Punjab Kings (twice) in 2010 and 2016. The latest was against Mumbai Indians in Match 33 of the IPL 2022.

Explaining further about Dhoni’s approach in the final over, Hogg said, “Dhoni’s scoring rate is not that high in the 18th and the 19th over. He is just working the ball around, making sure that he’s got control of the run rate. It’s between him and the bowler in the final over and he tries to attack the bowler in the first couple of balls. Once he does that, his reputation overrides the bowler’s mind.”

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