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IPL 2024: MSD sets Wankhede on fire with hat-trick of sixes off Pandya in final over, wins hearts

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Mumbai, April 14 (IANS) Just when people were getting ready to write the epitaph to his chequered career as one of the greatest players the T20 game has ever seen, Mahendra Singh Dhoni at 42 continues to prove that there is a lot of power still in his old bones.

At a packed Wankhede Stadium on Monday, Dhoni produced a trademark blazing finish by hammering Hardik Pandya for a hat-trick of sixes and a double to help CSK past the 200-run mark in Match 29 of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 after Ruturaj Gaikwad and Shivam Dube blasted quick-fire half-centuries to rescue them from 60/2 in the eighth over.

Even before the vociferous chants of "Dhoni, Dhoni" from the stands had died down, the former CSK captain carted Pandya's length ball over long-off. He followed it up by smacking him powerfully over the long-on boundary as Pandya allowed him the length to swing his arms freely.

Off the next delivery, Dhoni produced tremendous bat speed to flick an attempted yorker by Pandya over square leg for his third six. A quick double off the next delivery meant the former India and CSK skipper hammered 20 runs off four balls, for a strike rate of 500.00 as Pandya was left red-faced conceding 2-43 in three overs. His cameo and superb batting by Shivam Dube helped Chennai score 56 runs off the last five overs

Dhoni's brilliant power-hitting left the crowd mesmerised and delirious as the master produced another brilliant knock on the ground on which he struck a final over six to help India win the ODI World Cup in 2011. Many people feel that this could be Dhoni's final year in IPL as he has successfully handed over the captaincy to Gaikwad but the legend proved that there is still a lot of bark left in him.

This was the second time in IPL 2024 that Dhoni produced a trademark blazing finish after he launched an electrifying assault on the Delhi Capitals bowlers in Vizag in a lost cause on March 31. That day, Dhoni had hammered a 16-ball 37 studded with four boundaries and three sixes.

But Monday's cameo from Dhoni was pure delight for his and CSK fans and caused a frenzy both in the stands and on social media with common fans and cricket experts singing praises for the former CSK captain.

"MSD Finisher," Rashid Khan wrote with fire emojis on X (formerly Twitter).

"The Man. The Myth. The legend," wrote a fan on social media, his post accompanying a video of Dhoni's blitzkrieg. "MS Dhoni - THE GREATEST LEGEND EVER," wrote another fan.

"My dear Thala!,: wrote CSK's official handle on X with a video of the three sixes in fast-forward mode.

Another fan pointed out that Dhoni has become the first Indian to hit three sixes off the first three balls in an IPL innings. "MSD scripting history at the age of 42," he wrote.

"He Came. He Conquered the heart. He left. - MS Dhoni, The face of IPL," wrote another fan on X, with a goat emoji for Greatest Of Them All (GOAT).

Social media also reacted positively to images showing Dhoni giving the match ball to a young fan in the stands as he walked off the field, taking the stairs to the Wankhede dressing room.



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