It's unusual to find a big crowd at a routine warm-up match before an ODI series, especially when it's on a working day. But the one featuring the visiting England team at Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai was special.
It was the 'final time' that India's most successful skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni was to be seen leading the men in blue, although it's an 'A' team. The crowd nearly packed the Brabourne Stadium in South Mumbai to witness 'Captain Cool', for possibly his last time at the helm.
Crowd has turned out in numbers in CCI. The stands are full and we all know why! pic.twitter.com/1HckNnNd1d— BCCI (@BCCI) January 10, 2017
The Ranchi superstar and captain of the 2007 World T20 and 2011 World Cup winning squads was leading the India A side in the first of two warm-up matches to be played by the tourists.
Dhoni made his fans wait, as Ambati Rayudu blazed his way to a century alongside Yuvraj Singh. And then in the 42nd over, out walked MS Dhoni to a thunderous reception.
"Dhoni! Dhoni! Dhoni! Dhoni!"*Captain* @msdhoni walks out to bat for India A to loud cheers from the Brabourne crowd. pic.twitter.com/7S2rCBLUo2— ScoopWhoop News (@scoopwhoopnews) January 10, 2017
And after playing a few dot balls, the Dhoni magic began. He began carting the bowlers around the ground on his way to an unbeaten 40-ball 68.
6 4 4 2 6 123 runs from the last over for @msdhoni as he finishes with 68* off 40 balls!#INDvENG pic.twitter.com/cWwWRsFawz— ScoopWhoop News (@scoopwhoopnews) January 10, 2017
In the middle of the innings, one fan got overzealous and this happened.
A fan at Brabourne runs on to the field to fall at Dhoni's feet. Dhoni tells him not to step on the pitch & he obliges by jumping over. pic.twitter.com/KjiO6ZLauL— ScoopWhoop News (@scoopwhoopnews) January 10, 2017
Entry was free for this particular match and since afternoon, there were queues at the gates of the CCI. Initially, only the East Stand was filled to capacity, then the crowds gradually filled the North and West stands as well.
As the first wicket of Mandeep Singh fell, the crowds cheered "Dhoni-Dhoni" as they expected MSD to elevate himself, but to their much disappointment Ambati Rayadu walked in.
Whoever the batsman at the crease, the crowd was just cheering for Dhoni and was keen to have the glimpse of their favourite leader for the one last time.
Dhoni, however, underplayed it, as he only he can.
Former India capt. @msdhoni is leading India A today."Will still be captain in IPL, maybe Jharkhand too so not the last time as Captain" pic.twitter.com/xP4cf11Lel— ScoopWhoop News (@scoopwhoopnews) January 10, 2017
With PTI inputs