India played their 100th T20I against Ireland at the Malahide Cricket Club Ground in Dublin on Wednesday.
And, guess who played the most number of them? None other than Mahendra Singh Dhoni. The first T20I against Ireland, which India won by 76 runs to take a 1-0 lead in the two-match series, was MS Dhoni’s 90th T20I for India.
The man, who was a part of India’s first-ever T20I on December 1, 2006, along with Suresh Raina and Dinesh Karthik are the only players, who are still present in the current T20 set up. India had defeated South Africa by six wickets in the lone T20I in Johannesburg after a match-winning performance by Karthik, who scored 31 not out of 28 balls to help India chase down 127 in their 20 overs. The Tamil Nadu wicket-keeper batsman was the man-of-the-match in that game.
99 matches later, Dhoni and Raina are still playing in the XI while Karthik is sitting out. That day, Dhoni was out for a duck while Raina remained not out on three. On Wednesday, MSD scoed 11 off five balls while Raina scored 10 off 6 balls as India posted a mammoth 208/5 from their 20 overs.
Dhoni now has 1455 runs from 90 T20Is at an average of 36.37 with two fifties while Raina has managed to score 1509 runs from 74 T20Is. He averages 28.47 in the shortest format of the game and has three centuries. He was also the first Indian player to have scored centuries across all formats of the game. Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul are the other two.
Dhoni has played an important role in India’s success in the shortest format of the game and was the captain of the Indian team that won the inaugural T20 World Cup in South Africa in 2007.
During today’s match, Rohit and Shikhar Dhawan also forged India’s second highest partnership in T20I cricket. The pair forged an opening stand of 160 runs from 16 overs before Dhawan fell for 74. The highest in T20 cricket is between Rohit and Rahul, who partnered to put together 165 runs in Indore.
Incidentally, like Dhoni, who was out for a duck in India’s first-ever T20I, Kohli, who took over the captaincy in T20s from Dhoni, was out for a duck in this match — India’s 100th.
In the bowling department as well, Kuldeep Yadav made a memorable contribution in India’s milestone game.
The chinaman bowler ran through the Irish batting order to finish with figures of 4/21 from his four overs — his best in T20I cricket. His previous best was 3/52 against Sri Lanka in Indore last year. He was well assisted by Yuzvendra Chahal, who snapped up 3/38 from his full quota of overs.
Earlier, Rohit and Dhawan forged a 160-run stand to help India post a commanding 208/5 despite paceman Peter Chase’s heroics in the final over, where he picked three quick wickets.
The hapless Irish attack drastically failed to control the onslaught from the ruthless Indian openers as the score swelled to 150 runs by the 16th over with Dhawan bringing up his fifty off mere 27 balls and the right-hander racing to his half-century off 39 deliveries.
But the departure of Dhawan unfolded a drama that saw four more wickets — Suresh Raina (10), Rohit, Dhoni (11), Kohli (0) falling in quick succession, the latter three courtesy Chase’s immaculate final over.
News credit : Indiatoday