With MS Dhoni playing in what appears to be his final IPL, we have one last chance to appreciate one of the master strategists of our age. As Vinayakk Mohanarangan explains in this short piece “So much has changed, but MS Dhoni taking a chase deep and playing with the mental makeup of the bowler hasn’t.”

The focus of the piece is the last over of the CSK vs Rajasthan Royals game from a fortnight ago (Dhoni’s 200th as a CSK captain). CSK lost that match narrowly but Dhoni’s equanimity in defeat and the undiluted fear his ability to think calmly at the climax commands in the opposition are the takeaways from the piece.

Here is Dhoni’s point of view after loosing the match: “You see the field, you see the bowler, and you plan accordingly as to what the bowler’s strength and how the wicket is behaving,” Dhoni said about his approach to the end-game. “After that just stand still, and wait for them to commit a mistake. That really works for me. I don’t fancy too many things. I just wait for the bowlers to commit an error. If they keep bowling good areas, well done to them… End of the day, the bowler is slightly under pressure, even if he misses by a few inches you can hit a six. You need to back yourself. My strength is to look to hit straight,” he added.”

Here is the opposition captain Sanju Samson’s point of view: “No sir, you never [feel like the match is in your pocket] when you have that guy in the middle. You have to respect that guy and know what he can do in the middle.”

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