A natural leader, an instinctive captain, and a belligerent finisher, MS Dhoni's value as a pure batsman often goes undervalued in the shortest format of the game. While it took him 11 years to get an international half-century in T20s, his Indian T20 League record is terrific and he has played quite a few eye-catching knocks.

We look back on three of the best Indian T20 League knocks from Dhoni.

54* (29) vs Punjab - Indian T20 League 2010

In a must-win game against Punjab, Chennai were left chasing a mammoth 193 in the second innings. Dhoni played a massive role in the game, blasting an unbeaten 54 off 29 balls to help Chennai come back and win the match with two balls to spare.

Dhoni's onslaught on Irfan Pathan stood out in particular during this match. Chennai needed 16 off the last over, and Irfan was in a one-on-one battle with the invincible death overs batsman.

Dhoni started the final over with a boundary off the first ball before stealing a couple of runs off the next ball to get back on strike. He finished the game off with two gigantic sixes to cross his half-century and help Chennai over the line. The knock sealed Chennai's place in the semi-finals of Indian T20 League 2010.

84* (48) vs Bangalore - Indian T20 League 2019

MS Dhoni nearly pulled off a miraculous run-chase against Bangalore last season at the Chinnaswamy Stadium. Although it failed to generate a win, this extraordinary knock by the Chennai skipper will go down as one of his best-ever innings in the Indian T20 League.

Chennai were reeling at 28/4 inside the first six overs with Dale Steyn picking up two wickets early on. Dhoni and Rayudu added a half-century stand for the fifth wicket and the equation came down to 49 required off three overs, with Dhoni accompanied by Dwayne Bravo.

Dhoni slammed a six apiece off Steyn and Navdeep Saini in the 18th and 19th over respectively. With 26 needed in the last over from Umesh Yadav, Dhoni started with a four and back-to-back sixes. With 10 needed off three balls, Dhoni hit a couple and a six to bring it down to two runs needed off one ball. However, he failed to connect the final delivery and Chennai lost the game by one agonising run.

64* (32) vs Punjab - Indian T20 League 2016

This extraordinary Dhoni special came in 2016 when he was playing for Pune after Chennai were banned for two years. Chasing 173 for a win, Dhoni walked in at 78/3 in the 12th over. The equation came down to 44 runs needed off the last three overs when Dhoni, on 26 off 18 balls at the time, hit Sandeep Sharma for a six and a four. Mohit Sharma pulled things back with a brilliant penultimate over and Pune needed 23 off the last over to win.

First up, Axar Patel bowled a dot ball to Dhoni and followed it up with a wide. Dhoni hit a six off the extra delivery but played out another dot off the next ball. With 16 needed off three balls, Dhoni hit a four and then an incredible six off the penultimate ball. With six needed off the last ball, Dhoni swung again to clear the ropes and win a humdinger for Pune.

Feature image courtesy: AFP / Noah Seelam