It was April 5, 2005, when India wicketkeeper-batsman and former skipper MS Dhoni scored 148 off 123 balls, his maiden international ton, against arch-rivals Pakistan in Visakhapatnam.
The Men in Blue lost opener Sachin Tendulkar (2) and got reduced to 26/1. Then skipper Sourav Ganguly decided to promote Dhoni up in the batting order and the wicketkeeper-batsman, who had scored only 3 runs in the previous match, smacked the Pakistani bowlers all around the park this time to score 148 off just 123 balls. His blitzkrieg included 15 fours and four sixes.
Speaking to Times of India in an interview, former India cricketer Mohammad Kaif went down memory lane to recall one of the finest innings of the India-Pakistan encounter.
“When he (Dhoni) got run out against Bangladesh, no one knew about his match-finishing and match-winning capabilities. His first two-three innings weren’t so good, but then he got that chance in Vizag against Pakistan,” Kaif said.
“I watched that innings very closely and I realized that this man is one for the long haul. It was hard to believe that someone could play that sort of an innings so early in his career. Hitting the ball is one thing and tearing the ball apart by brute force is another. He was just butchering the Pakistani attack apart. I hadn’t seen anyone batting like that till that time. So it was a good move to promote him to the number 3 spot,” he added.
Since the innings at Vizag, Dhoni never looked back and went on to score 10 ODI tons, including the famous and career-best 183 not out off 145 balls against Sri Lanka in 2005.
However, the Ranchi-lad last played a competitive match was the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 semifinal where the Men in Blue were knocked out of the tournament after losing to New Zealand.