The man of the moment was a rookie MS Dhoni, in his fifth ODI and henna-stained locks yet to become a fashion statement in India.
After scores of 0, 12, 7* and 3, Dhoni was sent up the order to No 3 against Pakistan and proceed to smash 148 off 123 balls with 15 fours and four sixes, setting the platform for India’s 356/9. In that innings, the cricketing world woke up to Dhoni’s potential. A star was born, and how.
The rest, as the saying goes, is history.
Dhoni has since played three more ODIs at the ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium, one of which produced a duck and the other an unbeaten 51 off 40 balls, for a batting average of 99.50 in three innings there.
Now, as he leads India in the final ODI against New Zealand on Saturday, it appears this could be Dhoni’s final match at the ground where he made his mark as an international cricketer. In the third ODI he batted himself up the order at No 4 and scored 80 off 91 balls. In the last match, he again batted at No 4 and made 11 off 31 balls. His likely final ODI in his hometown of Ranchi didn’t go to plan, from the fan’s perspective who would have loved to have their cult hero smash India to victory.
What chances Dhoni returns to the ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium and delivers one final hurrah?
Relive that electric hundred from Dhoni here: