MS Dhoni consigned Australia to yet another ODI series defeat, delivering a spectacular knock to lead India to a dramatic seven-wicket victory at the MCG.
Set 231 to win Friday’s decider, India chased their target with four balls to spare to claim a 2-1 series victory and cap off a summer of unprecedented triumph.
Virat Kohli’s men became the first country to return from Australia without losing a single series having won the Test series 2-1 and drawn the T20 Internationals 1-1.
From a dasher to a finisher to finally the anchor in the last leg of his career, Dhoni 3.0 was in full flow during India’s successful chase of 231 on a sluggish Melbourne pitch after Yuzvendra Chahal set it up with a career-best 6 for 42.
It was also his seventh Man of the Series award in ODIs and as a result, he joined the likes of Virat Kohli, Sourav Ganguly, Yuvraj Singh, Hashim Amla, Viv Richards, and AB de Villiers. Among Indians, Dhoni is currently joint second with Kohli, Ganguly, and Yuvraj, while Sachin Tendulkar tops the list with 15 awards between 1989 and 2012.
Yuzvendra Chahal took a record 6-42 to propel India to a seven-wicket win over Australia in the third one-day cricket international and a 2-1 series win on Friday.
Dhoni and Virat Kohli (46) were both able to capitalize on Australia’s poor fielding and questionable use of the Decision Review System (DRS).
Dhoni survived being out for a golden duck to Marcus Stoinis when Glenn Maxwell dropped a straightforward chance at point, while replays showed Finch should have reviewed a caught-behind opportunity when Dhoni was on 34.
Kohli was dropped by Peter Handscomb at second slip on 10 and survived a run-out opportunity on 32.
Much of the post-mortem, however, is bound to focus on Australia’s batting. Openers Finch and Alex Carey again failed to produce runs while Shaun Marsh (39), Usman Khawaja (34) and Maxwell (26) were unable to build on promising starts, forcing Handscomb (58) to fight a lone hand with the tail.
It is Australia’s seventh straight ODI series defeat, extending a two-year winless streak that has alarm bells ringing for the team’s World Cup title defence.