Former India captain MS Dhoni and middle-order batsman Suresh Raina called time on their glittering international careers on Saturday, leaving behind some incredible statistics as well as memories for the fans to cherish.
Right from Sachin Tendulkar to RP Singh, fitting replies poured in from the cricketing circuit as everyone shared their treasured remembrance.
Both MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina carried a distinctive playing style throughout their career. Put together though and it will be a recipe for disaster. It was, in fact, with Raina that Dhoni enjoyed his best time on the pitch. Together, the pair combined for a whopping 4354 runs across formats at an average of 48.37, which includes as many as 10 100-run stands and 21 50-run partnerships.
This phenomenal return calls for a trip down to the memory lane, and here, we look back at five best partnerships ever played between ‘Captain Cool’ MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina.
143 vs Sri Lanka, August 2008
India toured Sri Lanka in 2008 for three Tests and four ODIs, and while they were battered in the longest format, the Men in Blue ushered their supremacy in the 50-over series despite losing the first ODI by a whopping eight wickets.
The fourth ODI of the series saw India winning the toss and electing to bat. However, despite a strong start, India went down to 81/3 inside 20 overs. On came the captain, Dhoni, and the pair took India out of their misery to put together a partnership of 143 runs, a match-winning effort that took India to 258 in 50 overs.
The likes of Zaheer Khan, Harbhajan Singh and Munaf Patel bowled right between the lines as the Lankan Lions were restricted to 212. Raina was rightly adjudged as the Man of the Match as India won the game by 46 runs and clinched the series.
144 vs England, August 2014
In a full-fledged five-Test and five-ODI tour of England in August 2014, India struggled to dominate the longest format, but made up for the loss in the limited-overs fixtures. After the first of the five ODI was called off, India returned their brilliant best, scoring 304/6 in 50 overs.
India lost two wickets for a mere 19 runs, but Ajinkya Rahane steadied the ship with a 47-ball 41, playing a 91-run stand with Rohit Sharma. Two quickfire wickets mean India found themselves at 132/4 inside 30 overs. Dhoni and Raina once again combined to take India to 304, once again playing a match-winning partnership of 144 runs. The southpaw, on his part, scored a century in just 75 balls, while the captain accumulated 52 off 51.
Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin weaved the magic with the ball as England were bundled out for just 161, as India won the game by 133 runs (through D/L method).
166 vs Hong Kong, June 2008
Months before the Dhoni and Raina combined to dismantle Sri Lanka at their own turf, they had mercilessly thwarted Hong Kong in the 2008 edition of the Asia Cup.
The game, which marked the 25th anniversary of India's 1983 World Cup triumph, saw the Men in Blue deciding to bat first. As expected, India dominated right from the beginning, with the openers, Gautham Gambhir and Virender Sehwag, combining for 127 runs to give India a perfect headstart.
The highlight, however, was Dhoni and Raina’s quickfire centuries and their blistering partnership of 166 runs. The latter, in fact, completed his ton in a mere 66 deliveries as India posted 374/4 on board before dismantling Hong Kong for just 118 runs.
169 vs England, September 2011
India hardly churned anything positive from their tour of England in 2011. After humiliating Dhoni’s men in the Test series, England continued their form in the ODIs, winning two of their opening three games.
A rain-hit fourth ODI, however, saw India putting in a fight. At 110/4 though, the team was in a dire need of a fruitful partnership, which was duly delivered by Dhoni and Raina. The pair combined for a whopping 169 runs, which took India from 110/4 to 279/4. While Raina notched 84 from 75, the captain scored 78 off 71 as India scored 280/5.
However, as the rain continued to affect the field, the match was eventually drawn as Ravi Bopara’s late blitz of 96 was enough for England to tie the game under the Duckworth/Lewis method.
196* vs Zimbabwe, March 2015
India made a blistering start to their 2015 ICC World Cup campaign, winning all six games of the group stage. Starting of with a 76-run victory over Pakistan, they dismantled South Africa by 130 runs followed by a nine-wicket win over UAE, four-wicket win over West Indies, eight-wicket thrashing of Ireland before squaring off agianst Zimbabwe in the final game of Pool B.
After winning the toss, Dhoni decided to go for a chase, and Zimbabwe, riding on the back of Brendan Taylor’s blistering 110-ball 138, put a healthy 287 on board. India made a decent start but soon found themselves four wickets down for 92. Dhoni and Raina joined forced from this point on to take India all the way to the glory. The pair combined for a whopping 196 runs as India won the game by six wickets with eight balls remaining.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Munir Uz Zaman