MS Dhoni will be probably playing his last World cup. He has been an important and constant member of the Indian cricket team since the last four World Cups. Although his journey in the World Cup didn’t start with a happy note, he rose to be one of the most memorable names for India in World Cup history.
2007- Biggest Upset
Dhoni began his World Cup journey in 2007. Unfortunately this year Team India faced a debacle in the group stage. They started with lots of hope after their brilliant performance in the 2003 World Cup. Led by Rahul Dravid the team had seniors and youngsters to provide the perfect balance. But they crashed out of the tournament in the initial stage post the losses against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Dhoni scored ducks against both and against Bermuda when his team scored 413/5 he scored 29 off 25 balls. His disappointing performance attracted attacks to his house in Ranchi.
2011- A Magnificent Strike
Nobody could expect in 2007 what the next World Cup would showcase. Nobody could expect in 2007 India to emerge as one of the most favorites for the next World Cup in 2011. Since the debacle in 2007 World Cup Dhoni grew for betterment. Soon he posted one brilliant 91* against Bangladesh post the World Cup and bagged player of the series for the tournament. Post his good performance in Afro-Asia Cup, he was soon named the Vice Captain and later the Captain of Indian Cricket Team in September 2007. In 2009 he scored 1198 runs in just 24 innings, at an average of 70.43. He topped the year jointly with Ricky Pointing who played 30 innings. For several months, Dhoni was ranked number one in ICC ODI Rankings. In a couple of years, the time came the 2011 World Cup. By the time Indian cricket team established themselves well enough post the retirement of a bunch of seniors like Sourav Ganguly, Anil Kumble, Rahul Dravid, and VVS Laxman.
ICC 2011 Cricket World Cup kicked off in the subcontinent with India being one of the favorites. This was going to be the last World Cup for the master blaster Sachin Tendulkar. So Indians were hoping their cricket God to life the World Cup in front of the home crowd after 28 long years. Meanwhile, India won Twenty 20 World Cup in 2007 under Dhoni’s captaincy and 2011 WC ODI team saw a bunch of juniors from the batch taking charge.
Dhoni didn't have a good time with the bat in 2011 World Cup as well. He scored 150 runs in seven innings at an average of 30. But the Indian reached the final. Chasing 274 in 50 overs against Sri Lanka he played captain’s knock and scored 91 not out and along with Yuvraj Singh at the opposite end hit an over-boundary to win the Cup. Ravi Shastri’s commentary is still echoed in the ears of Indian fans, "Absolutely Magnificent. Dhoni finishes off in style. A magnificent strike into the crowd. India lifts the World Cup after 28 years. The party started in the dressing room and it's the Indian Captain who has been absolutely magnificent in the night of the final"
Yes, Sachin Tendulkar finally lifted the most treasured trophy in the Wankhede Stadium and a lot of credit should be given to the then captain.
Although India had a poor preparation before 2015 World Cup, they won all the group stage matches in the tournament set in New Zealand. MS Dhoni became the first Indian captain to win all the group level matches in such tournament. India won against Pakistan, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates, the West Indies, Ireland, and Zimbabwe. Dhoni scored a calculated 85 against Zimbabwe and built an unbeaten partnership of 195 with Suresh Raina while chasing 288. This was the highest score by an Indian skipper on the Kiwi soil. The tournament also saw him becoming the third overall and the first non-Australian captain to win 100 ODI matches. But India has to stop his journey against Australia in the semi-finals they were defeated by the mighty Aussies although Dhoni scored 65.
2019- The Journey Ahead
This time MS Dhoni will be traveling to England for the mega event as a normal player just like he did in his first World Cup. His aim will be to contribute with some fruitful innings and swift actions behind the stumps. In last three World Cups Dhoni has played so far, he has managed to add 507 runs in 17 innings at an average of 42.25 with the best being the 91 not out against Sri Lanka. He, in all likelihood, will be playing his last World Cup. Since everyone knows how important MS is when it comes to providing balance to the Indian middle order, it will be important that Dhoni clicks. Dhoni’s maturity and expertise are anyway assets for Kohli. With all his calmness and insightful tactics, one of the most successful captains of Indian cricket would love to change his World Cup numbers.