Some videos and images remain etched in our memories indefinitely. One such unforgettable moment for millions of Indian cricket fans is the video of former India captain MS Dhoni’s unfortunate run-out during the semi-final of the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup. This moment epitomizes heartbreak and is impossible to forget.
MS Dhoni was known for his exceptional running between the wickets, making his millimeters-short run-out even more unbelievable. Beyond just missing a run, this incident marked the end of India’s World Cup dream and brought a somber conclusion to a glorious career. Despite his usual carefree and composed demeanor on the field, the fact that he got run-out in both his debut and final matches for India weighed heavily on his emotions.
In a candid conversation with journalist Boria Majumdar in December 2019, Dhoni revealed the raw side of his emotions. He expressed deep regret for not diving to save his wicket on that fateful day. Dhoni recalled that when he saw Martin Guptill preparing to throw the ball for a direct hit, the thought of diving did cross his mind. However, he had never dived while running between the wickets throughout his career, relying instead on his swift legs. Looking back, the inch of uncovered ground still haunted him.
During the pivotal moment of the match, India needed 25 runs from 10 deliveries after Dhoni had smashed a six off the first ball of the penultimate over bowled by Lockie Ferguson. In an attempt to steal an extra run on the third delivery, Guptill’s throw from deep square leg found the stumps at the striker’s end, resulting in Dhoni’s run-out. India’s hopes were dashed, and they eventually lost the match by 18 runs.
Unlike his usual strategy of taking the game to the last over, New Zealand captain Kane Williamson had chosen to attack by giving the ball to Ferguson for the second-last over. Dhoni, however, was willing to face Kiwi all-rounder James Neesham in the final over, even if there were 16-18 runs left to score. As he had often emphasized in the past, the pressure would have been on the bowler, especially with one of the game’s best finishers controlling the strike.
It’s worth noting that Dhoni had batted in the 50th over of an ODI run-chase only 11 times in his career. In those innings, he faced 32 deliveries, scoring 78 runs at a remarkable strike rate of 243.75, including five fours and six sixes.
During this conversation, Majumdar also mentioned that Dhoni had been reviewing pictures of himself at his territorial army camp. Perhaps he longed for the life of an ordinary man in the army camp after India’s World Cup exit. This might have provided some solace for the regret of not being able to complete the task watched by billions with bated breath.