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IPL 2020 – CSK vs SRH

MS Dhoni has gone past Suresh Raina to become the most-capped player in the history of the IPL, his appearance for the Chennai Super Kings in the game against the Sunrisers Hyderabad in Dubai on Friday his 194th in the competition.

This is Dhoni’s 11th season with the Super Kings, the only team he has played for – and led all along – except for the two years he represented the Rising Pune Supergiant, in 2016 and 2017, when the Super Kings were suspended from the IPL following the spot-fixing scandal of 2013. He played 30 games for the Supergiant, and this is his 164th game for the Super Kings.

Dhoni in the IPL – the numbers

Dhoni has, along the way, racked up some chart-busting numbers, both in front of and behind the stumps.

As wicketkeeper, only Dinesh Karthik is in with a shot at crossing Dhoni in the foreseeable future – as things stand, Dhoni’s 137 [before Friday’s game] is the highest, ahead of Karthik’s 133.

On the list of most runs, Dhoni is at No. 8, with all the men ahead of him in the list specialist batsmen, only Raina and Chris Gayle among them bowlers too, though not frontline ones.

Most sixes – again, Dhoni, not quite a top-four batsman, is up there in third place, with 212 sixes to his name. Far ahead of him, at the top, is Gayle with 326, while AB de Villiers is not quite out of reach, with 219.

Add all of this together, and throw in his captaincy record, and it’s easy to guess that no one has won more games, as a player, than Dhoni. But only just. He is on 115. Raina, not playing this year, has 113. And Rohit Sharma might just push past Dhoni at some stage, with 104 to his name at this stage.

A leader (almost) all the way

Dhoni, fresh off leading India to T20 World Cup glory in 2007, was bought by the Super Kings for US$ 1.5 million ahead of the first edition, in 2008. He was their icon player, their captain, and led the team to a second-place finish.

It was a good start, but after finishing fourth in the second edition, played in South Africa, the glory run started good and proper: champions in 2010 and 2011, runners-up in 2012, 2013 and 2015, and third in 2014. All along, Dhoni was the team’s captain. And the Champions League T20 titles in 2010 and 2014.

But then came the suspension, and Dhoni moved to the Supergiant as captain, and the team finished one from the bottom. Next season, Steven Smith took over as captain, and they finished runners-up.

When the Super Kings returned to the IPL in 2018, though, it was business as usual, the “Dad’s Army” with their third IPL title. They almost made it No. 4 in 2019, but Sharma’s Mumbai Indians pipped them to the post, by one run in the final, to get their fourth title.

He’s still their leader, and with Dhoni’s 100-62 win-loss record [before Friday’s game] as captain for the team, who can rule out a big finish?

Raina, Mr IPL before this season

Dhoni and Raina have been comrades for the longest time in the IPL, and that’s reflected in Raina’s numbers too. He led the Gujarat Lions during the two years of Super Kings’ suspension, but has been a true-blue (or yellow) IPL giant over the years.

Raina is second on the list of most runs scored, behind Virat Kohli with 5368, fifth among six-hitters, with 194, plus second behind Shikhar Dhawan among four-hitters, with 493; and on the list of most matches won, he’s again only behind Dhoni.

This season, he might have added to those numbers, but he isn’t in the equation, having left the IPL to go back home after having reached the UAE with the squad.

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