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Friday, Jul 01, 2022
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Cricket

Dhoni, Stats Guru

In wins, Dhoni averages 75.06, with a strike rate of 102; that's way above his ODI average of 47.26, scored at the rate of 90.92 runs every 100 balls. He's remained unbeaten 28 times in the 110 innings he's played in One-day cricket. On 26 of those o

Dhoni, Stats Guru
Dhoni, Stats Guru
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

In fading light, at the end of the day, Mahendra Singh Dhoni's mastery over the endgame becomes manifest. When runs are needed to win a One-day game, when your top-order is gone, you retain hope if Dhoni's there in the middle.

That was the case at the benighted Green Park at Kanpur; you got the feeling that if the light had been good, India would have been through if he'd stayed until the end. That confidence stems from the recurring image, in the mind's eye, of Dhoni returning unbeaten to the pavilion in a One-day match.

They say that analysis of the game was no analysis when Statsguru – cricinfo.com's impossibly ambitious, and successful, search engine – wasn't born. And they're absolutely right.

Statsguru, faithful companion to every self-respecting cricket hack – and cricket statistician – tells me that we won't be far wrong in placing our faith and lifetime's savings on Dhoni taking India through in a One-dayer.

In wins, Dhoni averages 75.06, with a strike rate of 102; that's way above his ODI average of 47.26, scored at the rate of 90.92 runs every 100 balls.

He's remained unbeaten 28 times in the 110 innings he's played in One-day cricket. On 26 of those occasions, his team won the game. And on 18 occasions, he was one of the unbeaten batsmen when his team won batting second. His average in Indian wins batting second is 111.45.

One more click at Statsguru lists Dhoni's innings in wins. If you count unbeaten innings over 30 as significant when batting second, you find Dhoni's got 10 of those.

Statistics don't reveal all, what they hide is more important than what they reveal, goes the adage. There's indeed something to reveal here – against Australia and South Africa, Dhoni's not brilliant, averaging 36.81 and 24.5, respectively. In Indian wins batting second against Australia, his highest is 17 not out; against South Africa, it's an unbeaten 12. Which would be enough to dispel the recent rumour – which seemed credible enough if you took into account his doings of the last 14 months – that Dhoni is God.

But if omniscience is one criteria for divinity, then Statsguru comes pretty close, at least for inhabitants of the cricketing universe. Statsguru is likely to have the answer to any query you might have, about any cricketer who's played the game at the highest level.

You want Dhoni's record outside India in a day-night match that India lost, under the captaincy of Rahul Dravid, who chose to bat first after winning the toss? Statsguru knows, and you'll know if you have the patience to make a few clicks.

It's made statisticians rather obsolete, but Statsguru, by proliferating information, has democratised cricket journalism – which surely can't be a bad thing. It's got credibility beyond reproach, which can be a problem only if it's ever proved imperfect, even if just once.

But it won't be a problem, we can confidently assert here, if you put the shirt off your back on India when the team's chasing, and when Dhoni's in there.

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