Spartan star MS Dhoni has added another accolade to his astonishing career, creating international cricket history in India’s seven wicket win over New Zealand in Mohali. In an incredible milestone for a wicketkeeper-batsman, the Indian skipper became the first player in ODI’s to reach 9000 career runs with an average of more than 50. It came on a landmark evening for Dhoni who produced a signature innings to help steer his team to a 2-1 series lead.
Promoted in the batting order, Dhoni came to the crease with the hosts in danger at 2-41 in the ninth over. Dhoni had earlier grabbed two slick stumpings in consecutive Amit Mishra overs as India changed the momentum of the match, restricting the Black Caps to 285. In reply, he partnered with his deputy Virat Kohli for a 151 run third wicket stand to set up India’s slick run chase. Fittingly, Dhoni went past 9000 career runs with a thumping six over long-off to become just the fifth Indian to reach the mark, behind cricket luminaries Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid and Mohammad Azharuddin. When Dhoni was dismissed for 80 in the 36th over, Kohli continued on, steering India to victory with a majestic, unbeaten 154.
In the process, Dhoni became the fastest player in terms of innings (244) to 9000 ODI runs as a wicketkeeper-batsman. Kumar Sangakkara (252) and Adam Gilchrist (262) are the only other wicketkeeper-batsmen to reach the mark. Dhoni’s 244 innings played makes him the sixth-fastest to 9000 runs, behind Ganguly, Tendulkar, Brian Lara, Ricky Ponting and Jacques Kallis.
In terms of balls faced, Dhoni reached 9000 runs as the third-fastest of all time, behind Gilchrist and Sanath Jayasuriya.
And Spartan players fill the top three places when it comes to the most sixes hit in reaching 9000 ODI runs – Chris Gayle with 229, ahead of Dhoni (196) and Tendulkar (195). Perhaps most impressive though has been the accumulation of milestones achieved by Dhoni while also handling the Indian captaincy.
Of his 9000 ODI runs, 6581 of them have come as Indian skipper. India will look to seal a series win when game four is played at Dhoni’s home ground in Ranchi on Wednesday.