The Ranchi ODI between India and Australia at the JSCA stadium was a record-breaking night for both sides. Australia were boosted by Usman Khawaja’s maiden century as they reached 313/5. In response, Virat Kohli showed that he is the ultimate run-machine in ODIs by notching up his 41st century. However, the night belonged to Ranchi’s favourite child, MS Dhoni and he created a new record and he thrilled the crowd in a short but fabulous exhibition. Dhoni is a renowned wicketkeeper and a brilliant captain. He is also a brilliant finisher who bats well in the death overs. When Dhoni started out, he was a big-hitter who cleared the boundary at will.
In the 19th over of the Indian run-chase, Dhoni turned the clock back and launched the fourth ball bowled by Nathan Lyon way back into the deep midwicket stands. That thrilled the crowd and made Dhoni a proud owner of a record. With the six off Lyon, Dhoni became the ultimate six-hitting machine for India in ODIs. The six was Dhoni’s 217th six for India in ODIs, going past Rohit Sharma’s mark of 216 sixes. Dhoni has a total of 224 sixes but he hit seven during his knock of 139 for Asia XI in the 2007 series against Africa XI in Chennai.
Dhoni and Rohit are the only two cricketers who have hit over 200 sixes in ODIs. Shahid Afridi of Pakistan tops the charts with 351 sixes followed by West Indies’ Chris Gayle who has hit 314 sixes. The former India cricket team skipper is the only keeper in history to hit over 200 sixes in ODIs.
Khawaja’s maiden century and his 193-run opening stand with Aaron Finch laid the base for Australia’s big score. Glenn Maxwell’s aggressive 47 and Marcus Stoinis’ 31 helped Australia reach 313/5. In response, India lost Rohit, Shikhar Dhawan and Ambati Rayudu cheaply to be reduced to 27/3. Kohli and Dhoni shared a 59-run stand but after breaking the record, Dhoni was bowled by Adam Zampa for 26. Kohli shared an 88-run stand for the fifth wicket with Kedar Jadhav (26) and Kohli notched up a record century in a chase.
Vijay Shankar batted aggressively but India lost wickets at regular intervals to lose the match by 32 runs and keep the series alive heading into the fourth game in Mohali. Dhoni has been rested for the last two ODIs and Rohit might well go on to break the record for most sixes by an Indian. But in front of his home fans, Dhoni became the ultimate six-hitting machine.