Mahendra Singh Dhoni smashed his way to another milestone in the third One-Day International against New Zealand in Mohali on Sunday (October 23). He broke Sachin Tendulkar’s record for the most sixes (195) by an Indian in ODIs, and also shattered Ricky Ponting’s record for most sixes (123) by a captain in the 50-over game. Currently, Dhoni lies fifth in the list of six-hitters, though with 196 maximums, he has Brendon McCullum (200) well in his sights.
Several of Dhoni’s sixes will remain forever etched in memory. Here’s a look at our top six ODI sixes to have flown off Dhoni’s flashing blade.
Sixing the six-man
April 5, 2005: Against Shahid Afridi in Visakhapatnam
There is a sense of irony about Dhoni’s first six spree, coming as it did off Shahid Afridi – the king of six-hitting in the 1990s. Promoted to No. 3 for the first time in his fifth ODI, a fresh-faced Dhoni with the famous coppered mane blasted his way to a memorable 123-ball 148 which was the first step towards establishing his legend. In the 40th over of India’s innings, he stepped out to hit Afridi over long-off. Afridi followed that with a wide ball to stop Dhoni from sweeping, but the next ball gave a glimpse of Dhoni’s anticipatory skills. Expecting the ball to come at him, Dhoni stepped out to power it over midwicket and move from 126 to 138 in the space of three balls.
The helicopter arrives
April 3, 2006: Against James Anderson in Margao
After tons against Pakistan and Sri Lanka, Dhoni was already a mirror-image version of Adam Gilchrist in the minds of Indian fans, but he needed a symbolic stroke to stamp his innovative skills. It’s now a blur but this is widely regarded as his first helicopter shot in top-flight cricket. It came off the first ball of the 49th over, bowled by James Anderson. “Not quite sure what he did there, but it’s very, very effective,” said Ian Botham on air. His unorthodoxy, learnt from his late friend Santosh Lal, first left everyone amused, before becoming a part of the game’s folklore.
Finishing off in style
April 2, 2011: Against Nuwan Kulasekara in Mumbai
“DHONIIIII … finishes off in style!” And then the twirl of the bat. Need we say more?
Master of mayhem
February 12, 2012: Against Clint McKay in Adelaide
Thirteen needed in the final over in a tense chase. Up against Clint McKay, Australia’s best bowler of the day with 3 for 40 until then. The equation was down 12 off four by the time Dhoni got strike. He was struggling a bit, having taken 55 balls for 33 runs. Nerves? Nah. Length ball, smashed over long-on, clearing the longest part of the ground with ease. The rest was just a formality.
Another last-over epic
July 11, 2013: Against Shaminda Eranga in Port of Spain
Some chases are incredible, even by Dhoni standards. The pressure of a tri-series final, with only Ishant Sharma, the No. 11, for company, and the equation reading 20 off 22. Somehow, it all boiled down to the last over – yet again. Advantage Sri Lanka, with India needing 15, which soon became 15 from five. But worry not – Dhoni was on strike. Eranga made the cardinal mistake of bowling a length ball, and turned back to see the it hitting the roof above long-off. A four through point followed, but Dhoni wasn’t going to take that much time. He smashed the next ball over long-off and calmly sealed another chase without fuss, managing to collect a stump as a souvenir before his teammates converged all over him.
Still got it!
October 23, 2016: Against Mitchell Santner and James Neesham
With critics doubting his ability as the under-pressure hero, Dhoni promoted himself to No. 4 in a tall chase to give Virat Kohli company. Grit written large on his face, he looked purposeful right from the start and when he stepped out nonchalantly to hit Mitchell Santner for a hit over long-off to become the fastest to 9000 ODI runs, it all looked so scripted. Then, his third six during the course of his first fifty in over a year – into the sight screen off James Neesham – took him past Tendulkar for the most sixes by an Indian. Point proved without fuss – yet again.
Most sixes in ODIs
|Player||Sixes||Inns||Sixes/Inns||Balls/Six||Career % runs in sixes|
|Shahid Afridi (Pakistan/Asia/ICC)||351||369||0.951||19.64||26.11|
|Sanath Jayasuriya (Sri Lanka/Asia)||270||433||0.623||54.54||12.06|
|Chris Gayle (West Indies/ICC)||238||264||0.901||45.52||15.48|
|Brendon McCullum (New Zealand)||200||228||0.877||31.56||19.72|
|MS Dhoni (India/Asia)||196||244||0.803||51.88||12.98|
Most sixes by Indians in ODIs
|Player||Sixes||Innings||Sixes/Innings||Career % runs in sixes|
Most sixes by Dhoni in an innings
|10||183*||Sri Lanka||Jaipur||October 31, 2005|
|6||109*||Hong Kong||Karachi||June 25, 2008|
(For Asia XI)
|Chennai||June 10, 2007|
|5||139*||Australia||Mohali||October 19, 2013|
|Dhoni has hit four sixes in ten innings, three sixes in 12 innings, two sixes in 24 innings and one six in 46 innings|
Dhoni’s innings with at least one six
|Sixes||Innings||Sixes/Innings||Runs||% runs in sixes|
|Dhoni has not hit a six in 148 of his innings|