MS Dhoni on Sunday turned back the clock and how. The former India captain produced one of the most scintillating innings of his IPL career and almost got Chennai Super Kings over the line against Kings XI Punjab -- all this with a bad back that severely hampered his movements. Dhoni smashed 79 not out off just 44 balls to take CSK to the brink of one of most unlikeliest of wins but it wasn't to be as Kings XI Punjab pacer Mohit Sharma just about held his nerves in the final over to lead his team to a narrow four-run win at the Punjab Cricket Association IS Bindra Stadium in Mohali.
Dhoni's miraculous innings where he hit five sixes and six fours almost stunned the home fans. The Indian superstar received treatment from the CSK physio after injuring his back while taking a quick double.
Dhoni was in visible pain, clutching his back several times while running between the wickets. However, that didn't stop the wicketkeeper-batsman from thrashing the Punjab bowlers all over the park.
Former stars, fans were left stunned by Dhoni's brilliant innings and came in their numbers to praise the Indian legend.
That was quite a show by MS Dhoni. Love watching his interviews, loved when he mentioned God has given him enough power he doesn't need to use his back to hit sixes(referring to injury). Kings 11 will be delighted with this win #KXIPvCSK— Mohammad Kaif (@MohammadKaif) April 15, 2018
Great striking there by @msdhoni almost pulled it off. 200 not safe these days is it? Got a feel of it yesterday— Rohit Sharma (@ImRo45) April 15, 2018
@msdhoni Bhai You are champion hard Luck but that inning was absolutely Amazing and outstanding to Watch— Rashid Khan (@rashidkhan_19) April 15, 2018
Surely he is in Pain. Struggling to stay there. Sends back the Physio. That's MS Dhoni for you. #KXIPvCSK— Prabhu (@Cricprabhu) April 15, 2018
36 years of age— Gujarati Jon Snow (@Gujju_Jon) April 15, 2018
Required run rate around 20
Lower back pain
Still tried his everything
That's MS Dhoni for you
What a freaking champion is @msdhoni !! Back out of commission, but that pummelling was outstanding. "God has given me enough power so I don't have to use my back". That ladies and gentlemen is true grit. What a man. @ChennaiIPL #csk #whistlepodu !!— Amitashh Pradhan (@amitashpradhan) April 15, 2018
Powered by Chris Gayle's 63 off 33 balls, Kings XI Punjab posted a formidable 197 for seven on the board after being put into bat. Wickets tumbled early in the chase for CSK as Shane Watson (11) and Murali Vijay (12) departed without making much of a contribution.
Ambati Rayudu sparkled a bit and his 35-ball 49 managed to keep CSK in the hunt. He was joined by MS Dhoni after Sam Billings (9) was trapped plumb in front of the stumps by Punjab captain Ravichandran Ashwin in the seventh over.
CSK were in more than a spot of bother at 56 for three in 6.4 overs. Dhoni took his time initially as Rayudu played the role of the aggressor. But while taking a quick double, the CSK skipper injured his back and needed medical attention.
After a few painkillers and a back rub, Dhoni returned to the action. However, soon after, things went from bad to worse for CSK as the in-form Rayudu was sent packing by Ashwin's inch-perfect throw.
With Jadeja struggling to get the Punjab bowlers away, the onus fell on Dhoni with asking rate climbing to 19 per over.
When all looked lost for CSK, Dhoni started his onslaught on the Punjab bowlers, who looked short on ideas on how to stop the barrage coming their way.
Needing 17 off the final over, Mohit Sharma decided to bowl wide yorkers and the strategy did the trick. Dhoni, unable to stretch properly due to his bad back, could not make the much-needed connections on the three balls and that proved to be the difference.
Dhoni finished things off with a six but it came a tad bit late as CSK tasted their first defeat of IPL 2018.