There is a reason why people connect so much with MS Dhoni. It's not the fact that he can pull of magic, that would make him a God, like Sachin, but it is because he can pull off magic while making it seem like anyone could do it if they really tried. There is believability in his power.
He seems truly convinced that you can win if you don't give up, and that's is precisely why he ends up winning. Here are examples of the same.
1. T20 World Cup, 2007.
We have all read about this a thousand times, but it is also a feat that warrants reiteration so here we go. Pakistan needed 13 runs off the last over to win the maiden T20 World Cup title, but the first-time captain on the other side had other plans. On paper, this was easily manageable, a fact proven with an early 6. However, Joginder Sharma, Mahi's chosen soldier, held his nerves and backed by the unbreakable faith from the leader, pulled off a scintillating win. We needed one wicket, and we got it. The rest is history.
I wonder how Misbah-ul-Haq dealt with the fact that he could have totally not gone for that boundary attempt. Well...
2. T20 World Cup, 2016.
This time, the opposition was Bangladesh and they were chasing after India put 146 runs on the board. In the final over, the neighbors needed 11 runs and it seemed completely doable, with Mahmudullah and Mushfiqur Rahim, on the crease. After a boundary, the batsmen needed to score 6 runs off 4 balls and after another, 2 runs in 3 balls. This is what happened next, India scalped two consecutive wickets in the next two deliveries, and so ultimately, things came down to 1 run from the last ball.
Which would still be considered a fight in batsman's favour. But the fight is never in the batsman's favor when Dhoni is behind the stumps. Hardik Pandya bowled the last delivery and as the batsmen were going for the run, Dhoni effected a run-out, hence winning India the match.
3. Tri-Nation Series, 2013.
India was playing against Sri Lanka in the final of the Tri-Nation Series and the batting line-up was falling like a deck of cards. Except for Dhoni, who held India's hope on his shoulders. He played till the end, till everyone was dismissed except Ishant Sharma. India needed 15 runs off the last over to win, and could not afford to lose a wicket. So, Dhoni geared up. He asked for a new, heavier bat, and hit a 6 and then a 4 and then a 6 to wrap things up. You've gotta be envious of his ability to make things look easier than they are.
4. Commonwealth Bank Series, 2012.
Chasing a 270-run target against Australia, India's hopes were once again pinned on Dhoni. And once again, he delivered. We needed 13 runs in the last over of the match and Dhoni's partner R Ashwin, though full of intent, could not seem to find his rhythm. So, as always, Dhoni took matters into his own hands and slowly added runs, with almost painful calmness. He ran between the wickets last he had never run before and hit one of the longest sixes at the Adelaide Oval. India had won.
5. Indian Premier League, 2021.
Dhoni scored 18 runs off 6 balls and guided his team Chennai Super Kings to the final of the tournament, something not many would have predicted a few months ago. Playing against Deli Capitals, CSK needed 13 runs off the final over and it just had to pan out the way it did. A finish by MS Dhoni. Yes, we all got emotional.
We write about these instances in hope that someone reading these articles 10 years from now will be able to get a sense of how it was to be living in an era when Dhoni was a part of the Indian cricket team.
I hope they understand the thrill of it, but to be honest kids, you had to be there.